Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Critical services at risk for Denver nonprofit that helps the unhoused

DENVER — For the first time in its history, a Denver nonprofit is asking for donations so it can keep providing critical services to those experiencing homelessness.

Ivan Mesa, 60, came to the United States from Colombia in search of a better life. He’s been seeking asylum in Denver for several months and waiting on his work permit. For now, Mesa is living on the streets.

“I live in the car, and sometimes the park and sometimes in the warehouse,” said Mesa.

Mesa is using services at Haven of Hope to get by. The day shelter provides meals, clothing, showers and laundry services. It also offers peer-to-peer support groups, substance use and mental health help and more to help people get back on their feet and out of the homelessness cycle.

But Haven of Hope’s crucial services could be threatened due to a large influx of immigrants who need help. Hope Derrick Vaughns, co-executive director of Haven of Hope, said they saw a 266 percent increase in October 2023.

“We don’t turn our backs on anyone,” said Vaughns.

He said the need is still there.

“We look at the finances weekly. We’re trying to figure out if we have to cut critical services, what services do we cut? It’s very difficult because all of the critical services that we offer are services that will enable individuals to get off the streets,” said Vaughns. “For the first time in 26 years, Haven of Hope is asking for the public’s help. The nonprofit typically relies on private donors, but that won’t cut it this time.”

Clinton Metu, 34, has been going to Haven of Hope for about eight months after falling on hard times. He’s in the process of launching his own business after leaving corporate America and relies on Haven of Hope to get through the day.

“Every morning when I come here and I see it’s open, it’s a blessing. Truthfully from God, it’s a blessing,” said Metu.

Metu stresses that any kind of help could make a huge difference.

“It’s important to remember homeless people are people,” said Metu. “Not everybody has the same skills to cope with life events, you know.”

Mesa couldn’t agree more. He wants to remind people he just wants a better life.

“I’m a good person. I don’t want problems,” said Mesa.

Vaughns said Haven of Hope is about a month away from making cuts if it doesn’t get the funding it needs.

If you’d like to make a donation, you can head to Haven of Hope’s website. You can also drop off or mail a check.

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