The Issue: Women Experiencing Homelessness in Denver
On January 23, 2012, there were 12,605 people experiencing homelessness in the Denver area, according to a Point-in-Time survey conducted by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. Of these individuals, nearly 1,000 were living without shelter—on the street, under bridges, and in cars—and about 44% were women.
The Campaign: Helping House One Woman for Three Months
If this Grassroots campaign raises $750, then The Gathering Place can stabilize one woman’s housing situation for three months through The Gathering Place's housing stabilization program. Each year, the program supports 40 women experiencing episodic or chronic homelessness with case management, rent, and transportation assistance. It also can provide referrals to social services to help women acquire jobs and maintain good health. Each additional $250 raised will fund participation in the program for another month for one woman.
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The Gathering Place
In 1986, Toni Schmid and Kathy Carfrae were interning at homeless shelters in the area as part of their studies at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work. They observed homeless women leaving the safety of the shelters each morning with nowhere to go but back to the streets. Believing that these women should have a safe place to spend their days, Toni and Kathy used a $6,000 donation to form The Gathering Place in a one-room facility on Santa Fe Drive. It quickly became a regular daytime drop-in center for women, their children, and transgender individuals who were experiencing episodic or chronic homelessness. At its inception, The Gathering Place served 25–35 women each day; today, it serves approximately 275 women and children daily in its state-of-the-art, 28,000-square-foot facility.
The Gathering Place's programs contribute to personal growth with GED training, a computer lab that hosts skills classes, and a writers' group that facilitates creative expression. It also works to meet basic needs ranging from providing nutritious food to making showers and laundry services available. The housing stabilization program helps women achieve and maintain self-sufficiency with rent and utilities support, transportation assistance, and job training.