Homeless Task Force Update, November 2016

We have made considerable progress in the few short months we have been a formal Task Force, and are hoping to grow our committee membership as well as reach out to increase member awareness of issues surrounding homelessness and provide opportunities for adult and youth members to serve people who are experiencing homeless.


Upcoming Activities

Project Homeless Connect: Thursday, November 3
Betsy and Shelly will participate in Denver’s “Project Homeless Connect”, an effort to connect homeless individuals with resources. Shelly will be available for individuals needing advice on various legal issues. This project takes place on Thursday, November 3. All church members were invited to participate via email and social media.


NOVEMBER MEETING: Sunday, November 6, 8:00 a.m. 
All are invited! Our next meeting is this coming Sunday, November 6, at the Whole Foods, 7400 E. Hampden Ave., Denver at 8:00 a.m., in the sit down eating area. We will plan on closing the meeting in time to drive to Hamilton Middle School for the 10:00 a.m. service.


Delores Project-October 23rd.
Shelly continues to lead a group of volunteers from our church that every other month donate food, cook and serve dinner for women needing emergency shelter.  This group of volunteers served on October 23rd.

Our Work

September and October were two busy months for the new First Universalist Homeless Task Force. After assigning roles and responsibilities to committee members, we have focused on promoting educational and service opportunities. Here are highlights:


We decided that we will continue to collect donations for our community partners who serve people experiencing homelessness with collection bins available on the second Sundays of each month. Marian Downs will be responsible for delivering the donated items to our partner organizaitons. Carol Thomson will be a back up donation collector if Marian is unavailable to collect the items on the second Sunday of each month.


Communication and Signage/Logo:
Bob Hoffman will develop a logo and create a sign to be used at TF events and at Church Second Sundays and other events. Task Force representatives are working with church staff to promote our activities and projects widely. Look for our new task force website coming soon!


Connection Fair: Oct.9
Carol, Robin and Betsy represented us at the Connection Fair. We provided the most recent Metro Homelessness Report to share, as well as information on the task force, a sign up sheet, and information about upcoming events.

Look Out for Developing Projects:

Church Youth Involvement in TF
Carol and Robin will coordinate efforts to work with Church Youth leaders to create meaningful opportunities for youth involvement in working on Homeless issues. Possible ideas included – youth service dates for serving meals, collection drives or youth brainstorming and project development to be supported by TF. Bob Hoffman will also seek out opportunities for the youth choir to perform songs related to homelessness to promote awareness in January. We also discussed having task force members teach lessons related to homelessness in the faith formation program in January 2017.


Speaker Forum- January
Nancy will work on finding out if we can take the January Sunday Afternoon Speaker forum for Next January. She will also contact the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to see if there are formerly homeless persons who might be willing on speaking about their experiences at the forum and another speaker to discuss available services for the homeless in the metro Denver area.


Homeless TF- Member Experience, “Searching for Home” Colorado History Museum
Betsy suggested that the TF organize a trip for members to the Colorado History Museum to see the “Searching for Home” exhibit- members will view the exhibit and then meet for group discussion afterwards at the museum. First Universalist will participate on Saturday, December 3, so mark your calendar! You don’t want to miss this opportunity!!


“My Denver” Homeless Art Project
We discussed the “My London” photography project for the homeless in London and thought it was a creative and empowering project. We decided the broad scope of funding and implementing such a project would require collaboration with an established Homeless Service provider, such as Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. We will further discuss this potential project in first quarter 2017.


January Community Forum:
Nancy is leading our organizational efforts for Community Forum- She is hoping to get our task force assigned to the January 15 Community Forum.  We discussed speakers and desired content for the forum.  Some ideas for content included a discussion of the “Right to Rest” proposed legislation, City Council member discussion of Camping ban, Homeless Political Activist presentation. Nancy will work on getting our TF locked into the January 2017 Community Forum and then will call potential speakers for the forum.


Women’s Homeless Initiative (WHI) — Church Sponsorship Proposal
Matt Lehay works with WHI, which provides dinner, shelter and breakfast every Friday evening/night to 25 homeless women in the Denver metro area.  There are 20 Churches sponsoring this program. Matt explained the services provided to these homeless women as well as the dire need for such services in the city of Denver. He then explained that one of the sponsoring churches will no longer be participating but would allow their church to be used by another sponsoring church to provided the dinner, shelter and breakfast bags.  This would potentially be an every other Friday commitment requiring a team of approx. 12 church volunteers, including two overnight volunteers.  We discussed the merit and challenges of the commitment.  Shelly will discuss this opportunity to serve with Jeannie, Aaron and Liz.  Carol, Nancy and Lisa will follow up with Matt to schedule a visit and/or volunteer at one of the sites to observe how the program works directly and will report back to the TF.


“Colorado Right to Rest” Legislation:
Betsy discussed possible activities the committee could get involved in to support the Right to Rest legislation being debated at the state level. We decided that a part of our next month’s TF meeting we will discuss this legislation and brainstorm ideas for our involvement and/or church involvement. Everyone agreed to read the bill and be ready to discuss at the next TF meeting.