A New Year’s Gift: Locals Pitch in to Help Shelter Warm the Homeless

in Featured Nonprofits/Give Back Features by
Photo courtesy Pueblo Rescue Mission

The homeless community received a New Years Day gift: the opening of the Pueblo Rescue Mission on the first day of the year amidst chilling temperatures. The Pueblo Rescue Mission opened their doors January 1 at the former Salvation Army building, to once again serve daily meals, and to house homeless people with shelter at night.

The Pueblo Rescue Mission had announced a year ago that they intended to relocate and would be closing their doors due to issues with their building. Meanwhile, the Salvation Army, which housed about 50 men, also recently closed their doors to serve the community with day programs, leaving Pueblo without a local shelter altogether this early winter.
The local homeless resource crisis escalated as the public became aware that Pueblo’s homeless population was heading into this winter without a shelter, and locals packed into public meetings, worried as the temperatures dipped. Meanwhile, generous local individuals, groups, nonprofits and even a school, pitched in financially and volunteered their time to help ensure that the Mission opened on the date promised.
CSU-Pueblo sociology students helped raise funds through a GoFundMe account they advertised on Facebook. Students with the Pueblo School of the Arts and Sciences pitched in with a successful fundraiser for the homeless. And, the Family Worship Center of Pueblo generously donated $10,000 to the Mission so it could open up again.
Pastor Paul Montoya Sr., who has helped the Mission since 2010, along with the nonprofit’s directors, joined together with prayers and blessings for the Pueblo Rescue Mission on opening day January 1, thanking God that the shelter will be able to serve the homeless for at least four more months early this year, and that a new shelter location and plans for additional services be successful thereafter.
While the 501(c)3 nonprofit will help with the temporary crisis, by serving the homeless community with 40 beds for women, 50 beds for men and enough floor space for 50 overflow mats, issues related to poverty and homelessness in Pueblo are expected to escalate and Pueblo lacks the types of programs proven to be successful elsewhere.
Pueblo Rescue Mission photo

Directors and partners of the Pueblo Rescue Mission recently teamed up with the Colorado Springs Rescue Mission, which says that the Pueblo Rescue Mission needs to further mobilize the community and raise additional independent funding, not just for a new building, but to expand rehabilitation programs for long term local homeless men and women, who often have debilitating physical and mental conditions, and often addictions. They say it will take time for new community programs to be implemented and successful.

Meanwhile, as the Rescue Mission struggles for funding for housing and programs to assist local homeless people, the overall homeless population is growing because of a huge influx of newcomers to Pueblo. Anne Stattelman, director of Posada, says that her agency is serving at least double the number of homeless persons as compared to just a few years ago, with about 3,000 considered homeless. She blames the influx on the legalization of marijuana.
It may take a village, along with outside consultants, to help with greater plans to address Pueblo’s homelessness and poverty issues – and it’ll take greater giving of time, donations and money from citizens, organizations and the local government, to help those serving the homeless population in our community for this to happen. Please consider donating to the Pueblo Rescue Mission (719-299-4585), other agencies including Posada (719-545-8776), and join in on a community mission to help resolve our issues of poverty and homelessness in 2018.
Give Back Pueblo, formerly the Pueblo Kindness Project, uses social media and other technological means (with a print magazine coming in 2018) to promote greater giving and philanthropy in our city. This story, written by Jenny Paulson, is featured at http://givebackpueblo.com/new-years-gift-locals-pitch-help-shelter-warm-homeless/ , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GIveBackPueblo/ and is featured at www.PuebloIndependentMagazine.com, a new online magazine that helps sponsor Give Back Pueblo.
(January 1, 2018 photo of the opening of the Pueblo Rescue Mission courtesy of pastor Paul Montoya Sr., who has served the Mission since 2010 and other photos courtesy http://thepueblorescuemission.org/)

Pueblo Magazine’s Jenny Paulson is a 20 year veteran niche magazine publisher, an independent journalist, photographer, publisher, blogger, activist, world traveler and a proud mom. She has worked as a political activist, for a lobbyist, a pr firm, the governor and for a representative in Washington DC. She has lived in her home of Pueblo, CO for just over a decade.

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