Support and Solutions: What Warren Village Offers Families
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Warren Village in Denver, Colorado supports single parent families in transition from homelessness. Judy Dury is a Family Advocate who helps families to set goals and achieve them. Anna Trujillo is a single mother of three children who has been living at Warren Village while attending nursing school and raising her children. The Transformational Housing Model provides families with educational support, access to resources, accredited childcare, career development opportunities, and a stabilizing community.
“I love to see people’s eyes shine when they realize they can do what they want to do with their lives,” says Judy Dury, Family Advocate at Warren Village in Denver, Colorado.
Warren Village is nationally recognized for its transformational combination of subsidized housing, accredited childcare, and a full range of integrated family services. Warren Village provides stability through 93 transitional housing apartments and intensive case management. But what makes this program different is a robust range of family support services: life skills educational classes on subjects like parenting and finance; an early childhood education center for single parent families; vocational assessment; mentoring; and resident-initiated leadership opportunities.
Judy shares, “As a case manager, I work with residents to set goals and connect them to resources. During the first six weeks, I meet with people every week, so that we know we have a good plan and understand their need. After that we meet once a month, but my door is always open and people always come in to talk.”
Warren Village has opened doors for Anna Trujillo. Anna is a single mother of three children who has been a resident at Warren Village for almost two years. Prior to coming to Warren Village, Anna was working two jobs and paying $1,200 a month in rent following the end of a 12-year marriage. Complications with her daughter’s disability led her to seek support from family members. Anna and her children lived doubled up on and off with her brother after her marriage ended. She moved four times, meaning her children changed schools four times. Like many situations where families are living in close quarters, it became time to move on again. Anna faced having to move out while she was in nursing school with no income.
While her life situation had been increasingly unstable since the end of the marriage, Anna explains that she had never felt homeless until it was time to leave her brother’s house. “I will never forget. I walked into the Aurora Housing Authority and discovered that they had a two-year waiting list. I thought, ‘I am 37 years old and have three kids and I didn’t understand how I could have screwed up my life like this.’ I felt so hopeless. The thought of going to live in a shelter totally overwhelmed me.”
After Anna was given a list of shelters and transitional housing programs, she admits she could only imagine the worst about these places until she called Warren Village. After leaving a message, a woman from Warren Village called her back. “She was the nicest and warmest person. I never felt like they looked down on me. They always treated us with the utmost respect.”
After being told there was a three to six month waiting list, Anna received a call that a three-bedroom apartment would be available within a month. Anna and her children moved in on Thanksgiving weekend.
“Living at Warren Village we have been able to stabilize. We knew we were safe and that no one would hurt us. We knew we had the apartment for two years and we planned to make the best of it.”
Since moving in, Anna has finished her nursing degree with enormous support from staff at Warren Village. Residents at Warren Village are required to attend three classes a month and do community service work. “My favorite class is Support and Solutions. We talk about our week and people really open up. It’s amazing to have so many people supporting you.” Residents receive both encouragement and practical guidance for living in the world.
Anna, who lost both of her parents at the age of 25, talks about how critical it has been for her to be living in a residence where emotional support is available. “It is amazing to get on the elevator and go downstairs and find someone there who is supporting you.”
Warren Village asks more of its residents than traditional transitional housing models. Residents understand that they will be asked for accountability by attending classes, paying 30 percent of their income if they are working or $25 a month for residents who are in school, keeping their apartment clean, and performing community service. Many of the residents are exiting domestic violence situations or other transitional housing placements. While many people are able to afford market rent after leaving the program, Warren Village housing and finance advocates work hard to find subsidized housing for residents who leave the program.
Anna took her board exams in July and is now in the process of applying for nursing jobs before her family’s move out date in November. Her children are enrolled in schools where they are achieving success.
“I am so appreciative of this place. People in this neighborhood are not afraid to give. Student groups donate their time and there is a Christmas program that is funded by local retailers. Every winter there is a coat distribution. You are always going to be warm here. It’s just a great opportunity to get back on your feet and succeed.”
Visit the Warren Village website for more information.
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