Losing a home, finding a home, and being able to help others.
The first sanctioned camp for people with no home is being prepared. Tents are supposed to be set up in the parking lot at the Denver Coliseum. I would assume there will be a lot of asphalt, but the city is going to set up various stations to deal with sanitary concerns and with services to help.
This is not news. Denver’s homeless population has boomed. The encampments around the governor’s residence, Morey Middle School, the State Capitol, and other parts of the city, are overwhelming.
But a story today in Denverite focuses on the woman who will manage this camp, which the Colorado Village Collaborative wants to open at the Coliseum in the coming weeks. Her background is amazing. She has had ups and downs, and she has lived on the streets.
From the story, these three paragraphs say just about everything:
“You’re grinding just to get your needs met for that day. Or maybe that hour,” (Cuica) Montoya said. “It’s exhausting trying to get out of homelessness.”
In jail on a drug possession charge, Montoya had a roof over her head and regular meals.
“I call it, ‘when I came to,’ ” Montoya said. “I woke up in jail. I went, ‘What am I doing with my life?’ ”
Her mother took her in, and they began the hunt to find a program and an apartment. She progressed to working as a peer navigator at the Denver Public Library, helping people who were homeless or struggling. And now she sits on the board of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.
She has been hailed as someone who can work with people who are struggling and finding a future, too. (The photogram at the top of this post is Cuica Montoya.)
The links below stretch back for a while, and most of them are from Denverite. But there also is a link to a story on Colorado Public Radio about a woman who had lost her home because she lost her job during the pandemic. Her struggles have been monumental.
The CPR story says this:
“(Tiffany) Quintana became one of Colorado’s first COVID-19 homeless early in May. Eviction threw her into a two-month odyssey through the streets of Denver — her first direct experience with homelessness, and one that foreshadows the fears of countless other people.”
But as time passed, things brightened up: It’s a story that goes up and down — and up.