New start-up Grantee, Denver Homeless Out Loud, shares their thoughts on Chinook funding, social change, and the homeless realities in Metro Denver:
First Look: DHOL interview on ALJazeera America HERE
Chinook’s funding gift has impacted Denver Homeless Out Loud in its ability to perform simple administrative tasks that were beyond us due to lack of funds. Even though these tasks do not cost much, the ability to do them has given us opportunities that were beyond us before. The majority of the the funding has been allocated to the following various Denver Homeless Out Loud working groups where the greatest impact for the homeless community is occurring.
Without Chinook funding, there would be only one tiny home being constructed and it would be more of a demo and would not be housing homeless individuals in the future.
Homeless Bill of Rights
Without Chinook funding, the Homeless Bill of Rights surveys would only cover the Denver metro area and thus data support of the homeless bill of rights would be regionally biased.
Without Chinook funding, there would still be only one issue of Get Loud. (printed before we received any grant money) and it would have effectively only reached the homeless community.
Urban Rest Stops
“Being composed mostly of individuals who are homeless or formerly homeless, it is important to know that we are poor. Very poor. Individually we live on much less money than others might think is possible to survive. DHOL’s use of money reflects this. Often money is a barrier to be able to make even simple things happen. But being poor we have learned to make small amounts of money go a long way. We are very thankful for the help we have received from the Chinook fund it has opened some doors to us were that were previously closed.”
The Work We Do
We are an advocacy group. Not a service provide provider, so our help is intentionally designed to be community focused rather than individually focused. However, we continually get new involvement and personal investment from people currently experiencing homelessness. Thus, allowing people experiencing homelessness to share their voice in the public arena and have purpose and value outside of just surviving. The bathroom study was conducted buy just such an individual new to Denver Homeless Out Loud. Being a person who currently must sleep outside it was an issue they had great passion and knowledge about. That is one of many examples that continue to occur with us.
The Challenges We Face
For those that are currently homeless there is the need to eat regularly, so making meetings for advocacy projects can get in the way of getting to meals, showers, clean clothes, going through complex routines to get into emergency shelters for the night and other day do day needs. When the weather gets bad walking through rain and snow can be a deterrent. Often a better choice for those who are affected is to stay put (like at a day shelter) and stay dry. It is much harder to dry out than it is to stay dry in the first place. Add into that meetings with service providers for long term housing, medical support and other long term needs and opportunities and the challenges become great.
DHOL meets these challenges by making sure food is available or near by at our meetings. We even have individuals who offer their homes up for the evening in return to attending meetings that would compromise a persons efforts to get into an emergency shelter.
“We are excited to be a part of the Chinook community. We are organised very differently than a a lot of other organizations which makes it difficult to qualify for other kinds of grants and support. Chinook was the first organization to have confidence in our ability to have an impact on the homeless community. We are excited and grateful. “