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The Pueblo Rescue Mission wants to create a one stop shop for all homeless services

homeless shelter
Posted at 8:19 PM, Aug 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-03 17:53:05-04

PUEBLO– The Pueblo Rescue Mission provides emergency shelter services and stabilization programs to homeless individuals in Pueblo. The rescue mission serves dinner every night of the year to people experiencing homelessness. Giving out free meals is just one of many services this organization provides and they are looking to go more.

The Pueblo Rescue Mission is asking the city for more money to build a bigger warming shelter.

The Pueblo Rescue Mission currently can shelter just under a hundred people at their building on 4th Street. The Executive Director at Pueblo Rescue Mission, Melanie Rapier, said this is not enough. The new building would double that number, so around 125 people could sleep there at night.

The Rescue mission wants to buy the entire building 710 W Fourth Street, in Pueblo. It will be located just down the street from its current location. The building would be separated into three sections, a warming center, admissions officers, and a service center.

Rapier is working with the Pueblo Community Health Care to try to move their downtown homeless clinic into the 710 building.

At the service center, people could meet with a mental health therapist, or a parole officer, receive dental care, go to AA meetings, and much more.

“Our goal is to kind of create a campus-like environment. Kind of a one-stop shop. So we can be sheltered here and then you can get case management, you could do groups here, you can see a therapist here, you go to the dentist here, you can do all that stuff in one location,” Rapier said.

Rapier said transportation is one of the largest barriers for individuals who are homeless. But in this new building people could walk from the warming shelter across the parking lot to the service center to get resources.

“You can come over and get your food stamps reactivated, you could work on getting Medicaid, you could see a trauma therapist, you could do a recovery group,” Rapier said.

They would offer physical, mental, and behavioral care, all in one place. Rapier said some people are hesitant to ask or admit they need help. Her goal is to get more people coming through the doors so she can start a conversation with them in order to better assist them with resources.

“If I can get you to come in on a cold night and shelter. At least I have you in the door and we can have a conversation. Why aren't you staying here? So you slowly with those conversations can break down some of the barriers they have and get your foot in the door and connect to develop a little bit of trust,” Rapier said.

Pastor Paul Montoya volunteers many hours each week giving out food and water to the homeless in Pueblo. Montoya said hundreds if not thousands of people are experiencing homelessness in Pueblo.

He says the city needs to have more options to get the homeless out of the cold at all hours of the day.

“So if they jump on it now to get a warming shelter, ready for winter it would be a blessing because they can strategize how they're gonna and how they're going to keep it open during the day,” Montoya said.

The rescue mission said they would stay open longer if it was too cold.

“Just some tables to sit up in the morning and hang out at until it was warm enough to go outside access to the bathrooms and then of course you know the hand washing stations,” Rapier said.

According to Rapier, in Pueblo centers and churches must open if the temperature is below 16 degrees. She said this warning center would open in the 20s. The shelter could also be used as a cooling center in the summer.

The rescue mission has applied for two city grants to pay for the $350,000 dollar building.

They hope to have the funding by this winter. Until the mission can get the new building open, they will continue to provide services at their current shelter, just a few hundred feet away, on 4th Street.

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