COLORADO SPRINGS — A young mother named Kaylee holding her three-month-old little boy, stands outside her new unit at the New Promise Family Shelter. "It's actually been a tremendous help, a tremendous, tremendous help. I was actually homeless while I was pregnant. So, getting off the street was a big deal to us."
There are now 17 units for families of varying size at the converted Stage Coach Motel on South Nevada Avenue. It is an important new addition to homeless services in Colorado Springs. It is also among just a few of its type in country. There are family shelters, the New Promise Family Shelter is “low barrier.”
It means the shelter offers more tolerance for family members who may be rejected at other shelters. “Who maybe couldn’t pass a drug test because they smoked marijuana last week, or maybe there was a history ten years ago of domestic violence in the family dynamic,” said Family Promise Colorado Springs, Executive Director, Kat Lilley, “These families are getting turned away historically from shelter services, which means kiddos don’t have anywhere to go. Safety is considered when welcoming families.
A small, but welcoming place without needing to send some family members to another wing or building. "They allow us to have the whole family instead of just mom and son. They allow dad to be here too--so it's really nice," said Kaylee.
"It's really important when a family's in crisis that you don't add additional crisis by separating a family based on their individual dynamic," said Lilley. Often-times homeless families have to split up with dads, and older kids not allowed at the same shelter where a mom and baby are allowed.
The property was taken over by the non-profit "Family Promise" in January. Thanks to businesses, faith groups and volunteers it was quickly refurbished and is open.
Arriving families at the New Promise Family Center get a stabilizing period for their first two weeks. To stay longer they have to be actively working with case workers toward improving their situation.