Danny Timms can’t help but hide his excitement as he scans Denver’s Curtis Park for trash.
“I was homeless a couple of months ago,” he yells to a man standing a few yards away who had asked him why a camera crew was following him.
Timms once lived in City Park. And as he wandered around, the police noticed he spent a lot of time picking up trash. An officer told Timms about a new program last year. The city of Denver was offering day jobs for the homeless through a program called Denver Day Works.
That’s how Timms became connected to Denver’s assistant director of Parks and Rec, Scott Gilmore.
“A lot of us who have jobs, and lives and families take what we have for granted,” Gilmore said.
It didn’t take long before Timms' part-time work in City Park landed him a full-time seasonal job with the city’s parks and rec system.
But Gilmore quickly realized Timms couldn’t be successful with a job alone, so he helped Timms get into a subsidized apartment in west Denver. Timms pays $750 a month for the one bedroom apartment.
“Months ago, I was sleeping on the streets, now I can come home and shower after work,” Timms said.
Since its inception, the city’s homeless have worked 4,200 hours for wages of about $50,000, according to Denver’s Human Services department. More than 49 people have found full time jobs with the city, most of them in Denver’s Public Works department and some in Denver Parks and Rec.