Thursday, September 9, 2010

Step up, Colorado Springs

Posted By on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 9:55 AM

David Thomas (middle) was lucky to find do-gooders Randolph and Mieke Brown. And all three of them were lucky that RAP was there to help.
  • David Thomas (middle) was lucky to find do-gooders Randolph and Mieke Brown. And all three of them were lucky that RAP was there to help.

I hate to say I told you so, but I did.

Months ago, I wrote a story, about a great program that was helping the homeless called the Resource Advocate Program.

The grant-funded program is really what this community needs. It offers advocates — many of them formerly homeless — who act as ongoing councilors to homeless individuals. These advocates guide the homeless through area services, helping them find what they need, at their pace. These advocates stay with their homeless clients until finally (at last!), they are off the streets, and dealing with the long-term problems that got them there in the first place.

Ingenious, really.

And cheap. RAP needs just $50,000 by Oct. 1 to continue its priceless mission for another six months. Otherwise, it goes kaput, and a lot of our less-fortunate neighbors go by the wayside.

RAP is worth the money, Colorado Springs. Now is the time to step up.

City Could Lose Vital Resource to the Disadvantaged
Local nonprofit may shut its doors after five years

Colorado Springs, CO — September 8, 2010 — In less than 30 days one of Colorado Springs’ vital resources for the disadvantaged could cease to exist. Due to the lack of funds to continue, Resource Advocate Program (RAP), which serves as an agency link between individuals and community resources to meet goals of life recovery, will have to close its doors if an immediate solution isn't found.

Springs Rescue Mission which has generously donated office space on its campus for the last year when RAP found itself without a facility to operate, has witnessed firsthand the positive effect RAP has in the community. It has since taken the lead on maintaining the existence of RAP once funding runs out on September 30 of this year.

“Since RAP has been operating from our campus we have seen the clientele served grow in diversity. The influence of RAP extends past those it was initially set up for and has aided in gapping the bridge for people with a variety of issues that keep them at a disadvantage in today’s society,” says Lyn Harwell, Chief Operations Officer for SRM.

Officer M.J. Thomson of the Colorado Springs Police Department recently stated, “When we encounter a homeless individual, usually the first time, our very first question to them is, ‘Have you ever heard of or been to the RAP clinic?’ Despite what their answer is, we ALWAYS, without fail, refer them there for services. It would be safe to say we likely refer about 90% of homeless to the RAP clinic in some form or another.” Officer Thomson heads up the Homeless Outreach Team (HOT).

Springs Rescue Mission is asking the business community in Colorado Springs to partner in providing immediate funds to continue the operating expenses of RAP for the short term as well as an extension of support to keep the doors open continually.

SRM is currently evaluating its own future program (agendas) to find a solution which would include RAP under its umbrella of services but is still researching a viable course of action to best suit the needs of the community and longevity of RAP in the city.

But, unless an immediate solution to funding for the short term is found, RAP will close its doors and thus close a very important community connection to help Colorado Springs’ most vulnerable.

For more information and about Springs Rescue Mission, visit the website at: www.springsrescuemission.org or call the main office at (719) 632-1822.

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