Invisible Homeless Families Of East Colfax

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This research project was a field study of cummunity social work. It started a research project, and became an inspiration for several students and launched their careers.
This sad but brutal truth of what families face living on East Colfax in Denver out of motels. Children and families feet away from drugs, gangs, prostitution adn violence. Desperate community efforts to help families get out of endendured slavery with the motels they live in due to slow agency pay.

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Invisible Homeless Families Of East Colfax

  1. 1. <ul><li>Devorah </li></ul><ul><li>Hilary </li></ul><ul><li>Robin </li></ul><ul><li>Rose </li></ul><ul><li>Sara </li></ul>
  2. 2. Homeless on Colfax Ave: The Invisible Community
  3. 6. Systems theory
  4. 7. What social systems are present/absent? <ul><li>Employment </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>Safety and security </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul><ul><li>Social welfare </li></ul>
  5. 8. Employment Health <ul><li>65,000 jobs by 2020 </li></ul><ul><li>68% low wage </li></ul><ul><li>69% Colorado’s minimum wage earners are adults, 60% are women </li></ul><ul><li>Most homeless in motels work </li></ul><ul><li>Obesity and malnourishment </li></ul><ul><li>Developmental disabilities, low IQ </li></ul><ul><li>Mental health concerns </li></ul>
  6. 9. Safety & Security Education <ul><li>Reoccurring prostitution and drug use </li></ul><ul><li>Night police unreliable </li></ul><ul><li>50% homeless women and children are fleeing DV </li></ul><ul><li>30% children not enrolled </li></ul><ul><li>43% of homeless are children </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers report homeless children struggle </li></ul><ul><li>Transportation to school is a concern </li></ul>
  7. 10. Housing <ul><li>Eviction orders up 55% </li></ul><ul><li>Only 72% of housing demand is met </li></ul><ul><li>Motels provide “defacto” transitional housing at high cost </li></ul><ul><li>Full month rent at motel $540-720 </li></ul><ul><li>350 Aurora families w/children need improved housing </li></ul>
  8. 12. Urban Renewal Welfare <ul><li>All motels are ‘blighted,’ </li></ul><ul><li>Fitzsimons will displace many </li></ul><ul><li>Denver renewal Ogden to Colorado Blvd. </li></ul><ul><li>Voucher’s time limited </li></ul><ul><li>Aurora: 7.1% of Metro shelter capacity </li></ul><ul><li>TANF $300-$400 </li></ul><ul><li>SSI/SSDI: $545 </li></ul>
  9. 14. “ Redevelopment should serve the neighborhood and serve Fitzsimons, which is a huge economic engine. There will be business needs, employee needs, food and housing needs, and still neighborhood needs, because there's been no investment in the neighborhood for so long.&quot;
  10. 15. What are the subsystems present? <ul><li>Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Government </li></ul><ul><li>Churches </li></ul><ul><li>Service providers </li></ul><ul><li>Health care </li></ul>
  11. 16. <ul><li>Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Cater to transient community </li></ul><ul><li>Redevelopment is adversarial </li></ul><ul><li>Government </li></ul><ul><li>Adams/Arapahoe County Public, minimal benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Local police improved </li></ul>
  12. 19. Churches Health Care <ul><li>Minimal church presence </li></ul><ul><li>Local churches provide meals, CCN </li></ul><ul><li>Churches give donations </li></ul><ul><li>Aurora mental health </li></ul><ul><li>Stout Street Clinic </li></ul><ul><li>MCPN </li></ul>
  13. 20. Service Providers <ul><li>Colfax Community Network: </li></ul><ul><li>-after school programs </li></ul><ul><li>-groups for moms, teenagers </li></ul><ul><li>-hygiene and food pantry </li></ul><ul><li>-deposit assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Habitat for Humanity </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal transitional housing beds: </li></ul><ul><li>-Comitis Crisis Center </li></ul><ul><li>-Gateway </li></ul><ul><li>-Sabin Group </li></ul>
  14. 21. How is the homeless community functioning? <ul><li>Invisible community </li></ul><ul><li>transient, vulnerable families </li></ul><ul><li>cycle of transition </li></ul><ul><li>-migrating </li></ul><ul><li>-permanent housing unstable </li></ul><ul><li>Mutual supports </li></ul><ul><li>-motel identities </li></ul><ul><li>-childcare </li></ul>
  15. 22. Vertical & Horizontal relationships <ul><li>Vertical </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs met through hierarchical authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serve providers unequal relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Horizontal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community within motel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relationship based on survival </li></ul></ul>
  16. 23. Ecological Theory “ Original aurora shows the population increased by 45% while housing stock increased by 3% which resulted in overcrowding of housing units”
  17. 24. Geographic boundaries <ul><li>70-225 to the East </li></ul><ul><li>Syracuse to West </li></ul><ul><li>1 block to the North and South of Colfax </li></ul>
  18. 25. History <ul><li>City of Aurora founded in 1891 </li></ul><ul><li>1921- military base built </li></ul><ul><li>1960- 50,000 residents </li></ul><ul><li>1970- Population boom, increased to 158,000 by 1980 </li></ul><ul><li>1990’s- economic prosperity </li></ul><ul><li>2000- Aurora’s population increased to close to 300,000 residents </li></ul>
  19. 26. Demographics <ul><li>1,919 homeless persons in Aurora per year </li></ul><ul><li>E. Colfax Poverty rate nearly double the average for Aurora </li></ul><ul><li>43% of the homeless are children </li></ul><ul><li>35% of homeless families are headed by single women </li></ul><ul><li>60% have moved at least twice in the last twelve months </li></ul><ul><li>25% have moved between at least two motels in the last 12 months </li></ul><ul><li>35% moved to CO from another state in the last 6 months </li></ul><ul><li>60% have lived in Aurora for less than one month. 30% stay for 6 months or longer, 10% are long term/permanent residents </li></ul><ul><li>20-30 (7%) families a year move into permanent housing </li></ul><ul><li>There are 5,700 households live at $10, 700 annual income </li></ul>
  20. 27. Developmental stage <ul><li>One hotel vacant boarded up for five years </li></ul><ul><li>progressively all the motels blighted </li></ul><ul><li>City Council discussing relocation options </li></ul>
  21. 29. Culture / People / Relationships <ul><li>Ethnicity of homeless </li></ul><ul><li>48% White </li></ul><ul><li>24% Hispanic </li></ul><ul><li>24% Black </li></ul><ul><li>2% Native American </li></ul><ul><li>and mixed </li></ul><ul><li>motel community is a closed society </li></ul><ul><li>the longer the stay, the more entrenched </li></ul><ul><li>There is some cohesiveness, majority of relationships fighting/gossip. </li></ul>
  22. 30. Result of analysis: <ul><li>Transient homeless families in motels </li></ul><ul><li>A complexity of issues contributing </li></ul><ul><li>Limited transitional housing </li></ul><ul><li>People caught in expensive motel “solution” </li></ul><ul><li>Proposals for urban renewal and growth will exacerbate problem </li></ul>
  23. 31. Social Planning “ Let’s get the facts and think through the logical next step” (Rothman, 2005, p. 38)
  24. 32. Force Field Analysis & Change <ul><li>Who wants change? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Motel residents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Churches and Service Providers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>City of Denver/Aurora </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Police </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Businesses in the area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Workers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Who doesn’t want change? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Owners of the motels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Managers/employees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Longtime residents of motels </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tax payers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Day labor/temp agencies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3 goals for macro change : </li></ul><ul><li>Build more housing units for families and single adults </li></ul><ul><li>Hold seminars teaching people about saving money, finding employment, health, substance abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Organize a drive to get mattresses/carpeting/furniture for rooms </li></ul>
  25. 33. Locality Development Needs : Secure shelter, transitional housing, safety from crime, steady income, reliable transportation to job Assets : Social support in motels, no strict regulations, proximity to labor, transportation and food
  26. 34. ACTIONS <ul><li>Community Building </li></ul><ul><li>Hold outreach events in order to survey resident’s perceptions of problems </li></ul><ul><li>Teach-Ins where homeless learn to advocate for each other and themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Identify natural leaders and build natural relationships with them </li></ul><ul><li>Self-help/Mutual Aid </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate motel beautification working with owners & employees </li></ul><ul><li>Giving Circle in permanent housing; groups of adults are responsible for one another’s monthly payments </li></ul><ul><li>Community garden </li></ul>
  27. 35. Social Action “ Change never ever, ever comes from the top down” (B. Mikulski 1982)
  28. 36. PLAN FOR DIRECT ACTION: <ul><li>Vision: Safe and stable housing for all </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: Transitional housing integrated into redevelopment </li></ul><ul><li>Target: Fitzsimons campus and City should be accountable </li></ul><ul><li>Primary Constituency: homeless individuals living in hotels </li></ul><ul><li>Develop Leaders: Homeless hotel managers </li></ul><ul><li>Action: Tent city in parking lot of abandoned motel, media coverage, demand the space be converted to affordable transitional housing </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome: Tenants pay 30% income and stay up to 2 years </li></ul>
  29. 37. Transformative/ Empowerment “ For the most marginalized people in U.S. society, the very poor and least educated, the transformative approaches appear especially well suited” (Hanna, M. & Robinson, B., 1994)
  30. 38. GOAL : Create unified social will around the need for affordable housing in Aurora <ul><li>Create small study circles; a great way to promote liberation and empower members inherent capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Empower the people so that ultimately we can make the external changes in the housing situation that we wish to make. </li></ul><ul><li>Find out individual self-interests and feelings about the group </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with the homeless crisis on a personal level </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually, the group would press the City of Aurora to include affordable housing </li></ul>
  31. 39. Intervention “ Assisting community members in awakening to and pursuing their own legitimate aspirations for social autonomy and recognition” (Adams & Goldbard, 2001, p. 19)
  32. 40. Target: Confront influential socio-economic interests, especially Fitzsimons campus Goal Raise awareness of invisible homeless on Colfax. People are empowered when their voices are heard.
  33. 41. <ul><li>Lived Realities </li></ul>Homeless Children’s
  34. 42. Intervention: Community Arts Project <ul><li>oral documentary using audio and photographic mediums </li></ul><ul><li>After-school program teaches community youth how to collect visual/audio snapshots of their daily experience of motel living </li></ul><ul><li>build relationships with Fitzsimons campus </li></ul><ul><li>display images and audio exerts on hospital campuses. </li></ul><ul><li>mobilize democratizing potential of media by playing audio segments on public radio and news stations </li></ul>
  35. 43. Timeline <ul><li>Begin immediately utilizing already existing after-school program and CCN </li></ul><ul><li>Three week training with kids learning audio and photographic medium </li></ul><ul><li>Form relationships with hospitals to secure an venue for project </li></ul><ul><li>First Friday opening event including youth artists, targets, and media. Display for one month. </li></ul>
  36. 44. Social work values and ethics <ul><li>Values </li></ul><ul><li>Dignity and worth of the person </li></ul><ul><li>Social Justice, challenge injustice of homelessness </li></ul><ul><li>Service, help motel residents </li></ul><ul><li>Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Self determination through use of voice in art project (1.02) </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural competence and social diversity, strength of homeless community (1.05a) </li></ul>
  37. 45. Intervention draws from: <ul><li>Intervention models: </li></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul><ul><li>Transformative </li></ul><ul><li>Social Action </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizes skills of: </li></ul><ul><li>Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>building alliances and coalitions </li></ul><ul><li>publicity skills </li></ul>
  38. 46. <ul><li>Bibliography </li></ul><ul><li>Adams, D, & Goldbard, A. (2001). Creative Community: The Art of Cultural Development . New York: The Rockerfeller Foundation. </li></ul><ul><li>Aurora Housing Task Force, The. (June, 2004). Aurora Housing Needs and Strategies . Prepared by: Economic & Planning Systems, </li></ul><ul><li>Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Aurora History. www.auroragov.org </li></ul><ul><li>Bobo, K., Kendall, J., & Max, S. (2001). Organizing for Social Change: Midwest Academy Manual for Activists. Santa Ana, California: </li></ul><ul><li>Seven Locks Press . </li></ul><ul><li>Colfax Community Network, Inc. www.colfaxcommunitynetwork.org </li></ul><ul><li>Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. www.coloradocoalition.org </li></ul><ul><li>Dugger, C. W. (January 18, 2005). “U.N. Calls on rich nations to double aid.” The New </li></ul><ul><li>York Times . </li></ul><ul><li>Erbaugh, E. B. (2002). Women’s Community Organizing and Identity Transformation. </li></ul><ul><li>Race, Gender & Class , Vol. 9, number 1, pp. 8-32. </li></ul><ul><li>Hanna, M. & Robinson, B. (1994). Strategies for community empowerment: Direct action </li></ul><ul><li>and transformative approaches to social change practice . NY: The Edwin Mellon Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Homan, M. (2004). Promoting Community Change: Making it happen in the real world </li></ul><ul><li>(3rd Ed.). CA: Brooks Cole. </li></ul><ul><li>Johansen, Erin. (August 27, 2004) Redeveloping Fitzsimons: City closer to picking developer. Denver Business Journal. Retrieved </li></ul><ul><li>March 8, 2005 from http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2004/08/30/story2.html?page=1 </li></ul><ul><li>Linthicum, R. (1991). Empowering the Poor . Monrovia, CA: MARC. </li></ul><ul><li>National Association of Social Workers. (1999). Code of Ethics . Washington, DC: Author. </li></ul><ul><li>O’Donnell, S. M. & Karanja, S. T. (2000). Transformative Community Practice: Building a Model for Developing Extremely Low Income </li></ul><ul><li>African-American Communities. Journal of Community Practice , Vol. 7(3), pp. 67-84. </li></ul><ul><li>Rothman, J., Erlich, J. L., & Tropman, J. E. (Eds.). (2001). Strategies of Community Intervention, (6 th ed) . Belmont, California: Thomson </li></ul><ul><li>Brooks/Cole. </li></ul><ul><li>Weil, M. & Gamble, D. (1994). Current Models of Community Practice for Social Work , Received from Katharine R. Hobart, Ph. D., MSW, </li></ul><ul><li>LCSW, Community Practice I Class, University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work. </li></ul>
  39. 47. <ul><li>Erbaugh, E. B. (2002). Women’s Community Organizing and Identity Transformation. </li></ul><ul><li>Race, Gender & Class , Vol. 9, number 1, pp. 8-32. </li></ul><ul><li>Hanna, M. & Robinson, B. (1994). Strategies for community empowerment: Direct action </li></ul><ul><li>and transformative approaches to social change practice . NY: The Edwin Mellon Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Homan, M. (2004). Promoting Community Change: Making it happen in the real world </li></ul><ul><li>(3rd Ed.). CA: Brooks Cole. </li></ul><ul><li>Linthicum, R. (1991). Empowering the Poor . Monrovia, CA: MARC. </li></ul><ul><li>O’Donnell, S. M. & Karanja, S. T. (2000). Transformative Community Practice: Building </li></ul><ul><li>a Model for Developing Extremely Low Income African-American Communities. Journal of Community Practice , Vol. 7(3), pp. 67-84. </li></ul><ul><li>Weil, M. & Gamble, D. (1994). Current Models of Community Practice for Social Work , </li></ul><ul><li>Received from Katharine R. Hobart, Ph. D., MSW, LCSW, Community Practice I Class, University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work. </li></ul>

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