CAFE 180

CAFE 180 to Work with HAAT Force: South Metro to Offer Motel Vouchers This Winter

image1 As the days get shorter and the nights grow colder, CAFE 180® has joined forces with local nonprofit organization HAAT Force: South Metro to help care for the homeless during severe winter weather. HAAT Force: South Metro provides emergency shelter to homeless in the southern and central areas of metro Denver where few options for refuge exist in the winter for those without a home. Severe weather is defined as 32 degrees and below if conditions are snowy and wet or 20 degrees and below if conditions are dry.  HAAT Force typically operates from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM Monday through Friday during the winter season, providing vouchers for motel stays on severe weather nights along with bus passes to reach motels located farther than walking distance. The organization lacked the resources to support staying open on Saturdays as well, so this winter CAFE 180 will be the location for people to request HAAT Force vouchers on Saturdays when severe weather is expected. “We are thrilled to be able to serve the community like this during the winter,” said Sarah Lesyinski, executive director of CAFE 180.  “We have supported HAAT Force: South Metro for a long time and this seems like a natural collaboration reflecting our core commitment to honoring the dignity of each of our neighbors. Whatever one’s life situation, no one deserves to be outside on a bitter cold winter night.”   CAFE 180 will offer HAAT Force motel stay vouchers on Saturdays between 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM throughout the winter when severe weather is expected. Recipients will be asked to volunteer their time in exchange for the voucher and lunch at the CAFE. HAAT Force: South Metro focuses vouchers for motel stays on severe weather nights especially on families with children under 18, anyone with a handicap or disability, pregnant women, people with pets or those recently out of the hospital or suffering from another medical condition. Local churches open to offer additional shelter on severe weather nights for those who fall outside of these categories or if demand exceeds HAAT Force’s supply of motel vouchers. Churches also offer their homeless guests a hot dinner and breakfast during their night stay.  “HAAT Force: South Metro exists to help those in truly emergency situations,” explained HAAT Force: South Metro’s executive director, Cammie Houpt.  “Each year we have more than doubled the nights of emergency shelter we provide. Last year, over 1660 individuals spent the night in a motel instead of on the streets because of HAAT Force, with an additional 700 staying in churches in the south and central metro area.”   According to the 2015 Point-in-Time Report published by the Metropolitan Denver Homeless Initiative (MDHI), a yearly one-night survey of homelessness across the seven counties of the Denver metro area, the majority of all those classified as homeless in the Denver metro area were households with children (47.3%). Conducted across Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson, Denver, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties on a single night during the winter (January 26, 2015), the Point-in-Time Report is commissioned each year by the MDHI in order to better understand the state of homelessness in the Denver metro area. For more information about HAAT Force: South Metro, visit: http://haatforcesouthmetro.org/. Those in the south/central metro area in need of motel vouchers during severe weather can call the HAAT Force hotline at (720) 483-7864.