The past couple of years were testing times for The Action Center. Toward the end of 2017, The Action Center's Executive Director Mag Strittmatter resigned from her position that she held for over 15 years. As donations decreased, the Lakewood human-services nonprofit was forced to suspend its overnight shelter — a place that helped an average of 18 people a night.
Now, days appear to be looking better for The Action Center.
As it celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sept. 14 at a block party, The Action Center announced it will reopen its overnight shelter, according to a release. The reopening is part of a partnership with Red Rocks Community College and will allow for six to 12 students to have housing each semester, the release reads.
“We know that there are many faces of homelessness in our community. Students experiencing homelessness are some of the most invisible,” said Pam Brier in the release. She is the executive director of The Action Center. “Intervening at this critical moment, before a student has been forced to abandon their plan is critical. We are thrilled to be able to help students stay on course with their studies and career goals, provide the wrap around supports that will lead to stable housing and employment, and leave our shelter, the experience of homelessness and the cycle of poverty behind.”
A point-in-time survey conducted earlier this year by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative identified 434 in Jefferson County experiencing homelessness. Point-in-time surveys involve a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people on a single night.
A survey of 70 community colleges across the country conducted by the Hope for College Foundation found 14 percent of community college students struggled with "housing insecurity," meaning that they either pay more than half their monthly income to housing, are living in overcrowded conditions, don't have a stable place to stay or have no place to stay at all.
“By providing students a place to call home, we are helping them build a pathway to success, which will hopefully lead them to do bigger and better things,” said Dr. Michele Haney, president of Red Rocks Community College.
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