The number of people seeking our services continues to grow every year. In addition to the chronically homeless, we are seeing a significant number of newly homeless that have lost businesses, homes, and families in the economic chaos. In addition, we have more families coming to Bridge House and our evening dinners than ever before; at least one family with children per week.
At Bridge House, we provide opportunities for each person to find his or her path to self-sufficiency. But no path is the same. We see a wide variety of people, from all walks of life. Everyone is welcome and our goal is to connect every person with the services they need.
Over 25% of our clients are veterans who have served our country, but who are struggling to stay on their feet. Many are not getting the benefits they are entitled to under law. We help veterans to process the paperwork so that they can receive the medical and financial assistance they deserve.
Approximately 30% of the people that walk through our doors are women. The issues homeless women face around safety and security are different from those facing men. Some are even scared to come into the Bridge House. We have established women’s hours every Wednesday afternoon to provide a safe space where we can help women address their unique needs.
People with Mental Illness
There are estimates that nearly 40% of the homeless population suffers from some kind of mental illness. We see this statistic reflected in our clients, most of whom either don’t know they are ill or are unaware of services that can help them. We have a mental health outreach worker who meets with people one-on-one. We also have group counseling through our weekly HOPE Group. We provide funds for psychiatric prescriptions and work with our partners at Clinica and Mental Health Partners to get people the services they need.
While many people think the homeless population flocks to places like Boulder for services, our clients are locals. A full 60% of our clients are originally from Boulder County. We work hard to instill a sense of community at Bridge House for all our clients. We have regular holiday gatherings, art classes, and regular meetings with clients to gather feedback and suggestions.