The Denver Rescue Mission is holding a job fair for its 24-hour shelters

“When you operate a 24-hour shelter, you just have to have more people.”

Outside the Denver Rescue Mission, April 12, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Outside the Denver Rescue Mission, April 12, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Denver Rescue Mission, which began operating a large, 24-hour shelter during the pandemic, is hiring.

“We’re in full-on recruitment mode,” said Brad Meuli, president and CEO of the Denver Rescue Mission.

His faith-based non-profit is holding a job fair on Thursday at its Lawrence Street Community Center. All applicants must register for an appointment in advance by clicking here or calling 303-313-2448.  The job fair, the Denver Rescue Mission’s first, is being held to fill openings that include positions for chefs, custodians, intake coordinators and emergency service coordinators.

The Denver Rescue Mission is operating a 24-hour men’s shelter, set up in April at the National Western Complex, to ensure that people experiencing homelessness could shelter in place from the coronavirus. Next month, 300 men from the National Western shelter will be moved to the nearby Coliseum, where a shelter for women and transgender individuals will be closing.  The women and transgender individuals now at the Coliseum will go to hotel rooms, another shelter and, perhaps, permanent housing.

The Denver Rescue Mission will operate the Coliseum as a men’s shelter starting in mid August. It will also operate men’s shelters at a facility near 48th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard and at Lawrence Street. Together they will have space for about 560 men. All three will be open 24 hours.  The pandemic accelerated Denver’s efforts to make more shelters 24-hour operations.

“When you operate a 24-hour shelter, you just have to have more people,” Meuli said. “We’re trying to staff up to be able to do that.”

The National Western shelter had the space to allow for social distancing to stop the spread of disease, but opening it required other facilities to close so that staff and resources could be consolidated at one large facility. Using three facilities will allow the Denver Rescue Mission to continue social distancing. Meuli said dispersing people into three smaller groups would make it easier to guide guests to permanent housing and to services such as job training or health support.

“You have more of an opportunity to try to connect with people,” he said.

Meuli and other service providers are concerned that Denver lacks shelter at a time when homelessness appears to be increasing and could worsen if the faltering economy leads to mass evictions.

To compound Meuli’s concern, renovations to make Lawrence Street accessible to people with disabilities is scheduled to start in October. The construction could mean a temporary decline in shelter beds there.

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