History of Homeless Services

Chronology of Homeless Services in Boulder and Growth of Ready to Work Program

1982  The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless (BSH) formed as a result of a tragic homeless veteran’s death due to exposure, initially called the Task Force on Shelter and Food for the Poor. 1996 Faith Community members identified an additional need for day time shelter and a new organization called START was formed and located at Arapahoe and 13th. START provided day shelter only from 2:30-5:00pm on limited days each week. This was to fill a void in services during the daytime hours for people experiencing homelessness who had no place to go or to eat lunch during inclement weather.  START would eventually become Bridge House. 1997 Community Table was founded to provide meals to people experiencing homelessness and the working poor. The meals were held at faith community and food was cooked by volunteers. 2003  The city of Boulder and Boulder County, along with many community members, provided funding to construct a new shelter in North Boulder.  BSH moved to 4869 N. Broadway that houses 16o beds for BSH’s core Winter Sheltering and Transition Programs and serves a home base for Boulder County Cares. 2006  START became known as Carriage House and operated a day shelter and kitchen out of the historic brick carriage house adjacent to and owned by the First Congregational Church (FCC) at Pine Street and Broadway. Day shelter hours expanded to 9am-4pm, Monday through Friday.  The church offered the space free of rent through a 10-year lease, in exchange for $250,000 worth of renovations that Carriage House performed on the building. 2008  Carriage House merged with the Community Table (founded in 1997), an evening meal program housed at a variety of faith sites, and became Carriage House Community Table. 2009  The Carriage House Executive Director and several Carriage House Board members initiated overflow shelter that would become BOHO services.  BOHO provide much needed overflow shelter for homeless in our community, with little resources and practically no financial assistance from the City or County. 2011 Carriage House Community Table changed its name to Bridge House. Boulder Outreach for Homeless Overflow (BOHO) incorporated as a separate non-profit to fill the void for overflow emergency overnight shelter. The 2011 BH Annual operating budget was $602,000. 2012  Bridge House began the Ready to Work pilot program (a transitional employment program), raising $70,000 in private donations to fund an initial team of five trainees who worked for the City of Boulder for free to prove up the merits of the program. Isabel McDevitt is hired as Executive Director. Bridge House opened the Resource Center, a centralized location with services from multiple agencies, two days a week at First Presbyterian Church. The 2012 BH Annual operating budget was $764,000. 2013  Bridge House opened Community Table Kitchen at 5345 Arapahoe, combining our commitment to feed the hungry in our community with our commitment to provide jobs to Ready to Work trainees.  Community Table Kitchen hired Chef John Trejo and began generating revenue through catering as a social enterprise. The 2013 Annual BH operating budget was $942,000. Bridge House also received a $1m grant for the purchase and renovation of Community Table Kitchen. 2014  Bridge House purchased and began construction on 4747 Table Mesa Drive for the development of Ready to Work House and expansion of Ready to Work to include housing and grow from 16 training positions to 44. Ready to Work outdoor crews secure contracts with City of Boulder Open Space Mountain parks and Community Table Kitchen continues to grow catering operations. The 2014 BH Annual operating budget was $1,138,000 not including the $4.3m raised to purchase and renovate 4747 Table Mesa Drive for Ready to Work House. 2014 In November, Bridge House delegates daily operation of day shelter logistics to BOHO. Bridge House manages the Resource Center, supports Community Table with meals and volunteers, and, of course, operates Ready to Work. This begins the operational relationship between BH and BOHO which will last through the end of day shelter in spring of 2017. 2015  Bridge House opened Ready to Work House at 4747 Table Mesa Drive in August to house 44 men and women trainees in a dormitory setting. The Ready to Work program tripled in size and, for the first time, Bridge House offered housing. Widd Medford was hired as Ready to Work Program Director. The $4.3 million project was paid for with $1.2 million in city affordable housing funds, $510,000 in state money, $300,000 in county funds and a substantial private capital raise. Bridge House expanded operation of the Resource Center to Monday through Friday and served more than 1,800 individuals in case management. Services include assistance with housing search, obtaining identification, access to medical and mental health services and benefit acquisition. The 2015 BH Annual Operating Budget was $ 1,621,000. 2016     Bridge House maintained Resource Center and Community Table basic needs programs. Community Table Kitchen launched partnership with Naropa University to operate Naropa cafes. Ready to Work House celebrated its one year anniversary. Ready to Work won the Eagle Award for housing innovation in Colorado. Three Colorado based foundations asked Bridge House Executive Director to perform a feasibility study to expand Ready to Work.  The Feasibility Study determined that Aurora was the best next location, with others as possible to follow.  Discussions began in earnest to expand to Ready to Work Aurora. Bridge House launched search for Ready to Work Aurora site for replication. 43 formerly homeless individuals graduate from Ready to Work with mainstream jobs and housing in Boulder. The 2016 BH Annual Operating Budget was $ 2,405,500. 2017 The Boulder Homeless Working Group which includes Bridge House, other service providers, City and County staff issued a report that recommends a new system for homeless services that includes Coordinated Entry assessment for all adults seeking shelter and services, Program Based shelter with 24/7, 365 access for the most vulnerable and known to Boulder County at BSH, and Navigation Sheltering services at a TBD location (also 24/7).  Boulder City Council adopted the report. Services such as day shelter and emergency shelter are terminated per the recommendation that the new system be put in place by October 1, 2017. In the July of 2017, Bridge House, in partnership with the principles from BOHO, responded to a city RFP for summer shelter with the Path to Home pilot program deliberately designed to be the forerunner to the intended Navigation Services in the Working Group recommendation. Path to Home is launched quickly and is immediately effective.  Bridge House participated in an unprecedented partnership with a local real estate developer at 2691 30th Street willing to purchase the property for affordable housing with a lease for PTH for two years. In Aurora, after the initial site for Ready to Work replication fell through, Bridge House signed a contract to purchase 3176 S Peoria Ct on October 2, 2017. The identified former office building will be renovated to house 50 men and women trainees in a dormitory setting for Ready to Work Aurora.  The project will cost $3.8 million. Bridge House embarks on due diligence including solidifying funding commitments from the  State of Colorado, City of Aurora, New Market Tax Credits, and private foundations. The 2017 BH Annual Operating Budget was $2,438,000. Path to Home services were added mid-year and 100% funded by the City of Boulder. Ready to Work outdoor operations generates $301k in earned revenue and Community Table Kitchen earns $378k through catering, wholesale and café operations. 2018    Path to Home day case management and CE opens on January 2, 2018 at 2691 30th Street.  Path to Home management plan is approved. Ready to Work Aurora zoning is approved on January 8, 2018 for 3176 S. Peoria Court. On April 13, Bridge House purchases the property for Ready to Work Aurora and on August 1, 2018 receives the building permit for renovations. The 2018 BH Annual Operating Budget is $3,360,000.
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