Mile High United Way opens space in its headquarters for people experiencing homelessness

“A building is more than a building.”

An unplowed road in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood. Nov, 24, 2020.

An unplowed road in Denver's East Colfax neighborhood. Nov, 24, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Mile High United Way opened space at its Curtis Park headquarters to people experiencing homelessness on this snowy Tuesday.

Through the cold months of the pandemic, the community development nonprofit’s conference center will be available whenever the nearby St. Francis day center is too crowded.

The pandemic’s impact on the economy has led to more homelessness, even as shelters have had to reduce capacity to allow for the social distancing necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. St. Francis is especially crowded when the weather is bad.

“We have a long history of partnering with Mile High United Way, and we are grateful they were willing to think outside the box with us to serve our community members who are experiencing homelessness,” St. Francis Executive Director Tom Luehrs said in a statement.

Christine Benero, president and CEO of Mile High United Way, added in the statement that the conference center in her building isn’t being used because of the pandemic. It can accommodate up to 50 people as an overflow day shelter and will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. when St. Francis needs the space.

“This is another emergency and basic needs resource we can provide to our community,” Benero said. “This is truly living united, and when a building is more than a building.”

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