SRM launches three-year expansion plan

The Springs Rescue Mission is beginning the first steps to expand its mission and role in the community.

The nonprofit focuses on helping the poor and homeless in the Pikes Peak area, and its new plan will help people move into more stable lives, said CEO Joe Vazquez.

The first phase includes the Supportive Family Housing Program, which provides immediate help for homeless families. The nine-month program prepares families for self-sufficiency by offering safe, transitional housing and developing life skills for people who don’t qualify for other housing programs.

“the need for transitional housing programs far exceeds the capacity in our community, and to a degree that even surprises us,” said SRM Director of Supportive Housing DEE Drake. “As we phase in this program, we will immediately serve 12 families. Our hope is that we can expand our capacity to reach 50 to 60 eligible families next year.”

The new program uses another part of the Springs Rescue Mission: its resource advocacy program, which connects families with needed medical, dental and social assistance. Drake is also in charge of this program, which will expand its facility in the next three years.

SRM also plans to phase in additional housing to expand its New Life program, a recovery program which provides food, housing, life skills, vocational training and educational support for adult men.

“The addition of space and beds that can handle up to 50 men more than doubles our present program capacity,” said Rich Palmer, director of the program. “The fact that our expansion is actually refurbishing a former liquor store to house a program that helps men overcome addictions, including alcoholism – well, that’s ironic in a really good way.”

Program expansion for this first phase of SRM’s three-year plan will take place as necessary renovations make it possible.

“We’re certainly grateful to our Board of Directors and to so many who actively support what we do,” CEO Joe Vazquez said. “We’ve listened to our neighbors in the community. We’ve listened to our friends and colleagues who serve the homeless in the area and across the nation.

“Maybe most important is that we’ve listened to the people we serve day in and day out. What we heard from each group was important in developing this long-term plan, and we look forward to its full implementation.”