A popular place for homeless youth in Denver has closed its doors temporarily to reorganize efforts, after demand spiked and federal funding dropped.
Urban Peak runs “the Spot,” a day shelter near 21st and Stout Street.
“This was a place for youth to come in the morning and have a hot breakfast,” said Malinda Anderson, interim CEO of Urban Peak, which also runs temporary housing and shelter services for at risk and homeless youth.
“We had a perfect storm of some challenging situations happening,” she said.
The storm which Anderson is referring to had to do with a decrease in federal funding and an increase in problems around the Spot, with a bigger concentration of homeless being moved around by the city’s sidewalk sweeps.
“Homeless adults began to hang out around our buildings and mingle with the youth and engage them in unproductive activities,” Anderson said.
The problems culminated in April, when a group of youth tried to interrupt police officers arresting a suspect in an alley near the building.
Anderson said before “The Spot” opened in the morning, 70 to 100 youth would be outside waiting to get in to have breakfast, take a shower, do some laundry and hang out off the streets for a few hours.
Urban Peak hoped those young people would take advantage of services offered like anger management. But they found that only about 25 percent of the people who hung out at The Spot didn’t take advantage of those services.
The group plans to reopen The Spot in the next few weeks but will now require any people spending time there to sign a contract requiring them to take classes and work toward getting off the streets.