Denver, CO

Denver uses VOA hotel to give homeless a place to recover

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) A homeless shelter serving families will begin to house people recuperating from surgery or other medical treatment.

Denver City Council voted Monday to spend $73,000 on a respite director for Volunteers of America Family Hotel, 4855 and 4905 West Colfax Ave.

Ten rooms will serve respite clients — the other 30 house families with children. Denver gives families vouchers for up to 14 nights' stay per year in the hotel.

According to the VOA website, the hotel served 1,481 families and veterans from March 2020 to March 2021.

The Department of Housing Stability will develop criteria for administering respite services. A person recuperating from hernia surgery, for example, could not safely recover on the street. Respite care at VOA could provide the haven needed to recuperate.

Activities of daily living determine help

Respite services provided depend on the individual. Assessments of a client's activities of daily living, or ADLs, determine what services are needed. Daily activities include dressing, cooking, and removing garbage, among others.

The contract to provide respite care ends in December 2022. It is part of a larger $3.3 million contract awarded to VOA last year. The rest of the contract runs through December 2023. Other services offered by the VOA at the shelter include:

· A continental breakfast, sack lunch and dinner daily

· Blankets and towels

· Around-the-clock staffing with crisis intervention

· Case managers help people find permanent housing

VOA provides bus tickets to clients staying in respite care so they can keep medical appointments. Their goal is to find "move-along strategies" for clients to help them get out and stay out of homelessness. That may include help finding employment or accessing federal benefits.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

Denver, CO
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