The Comitis Crisis Center, Inc.

We serve homeless Veterans, homeless individuals and homeless families. We are Aurora's homeless shelter, with over 46 years of experience.

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Organizational Overview

The Comitis Crisis Center, Inc.
(720) 975-0155
2178 Victor Street
Aurora, CO 80045
"To provide a seamless continuum of behavioral services that empowers healthy, viable, complete lives and communities."

Impact Statement

Comitis' accomplishments/impact can be broken down into three categories:

A) Comitis has a 44-year history of providing effective and accessible programs and services to Arapahoe County and its citizens. Comitis' success is rooted in the application of evidence-based practices, consistent training and professional development of staff, a respect for diversity, and a keen and experienced knowledge of the local community's ever-evolving needs. Below are some of Comitis' programmatic achievements in 2011:

• Comitis' Emergency Shelter, the largest in Arapahoe County, with 50 beds (22 are youth-specific), was well utilized. 5,711 Arapahoe County residents were directly served in 2011.
• Trained and supervised staff on the 24/7 Comitis Crisis Line screened/handled 4,360 crisis calls.
• 149 walk-in clients, primarily the near homeless/working poor, were provided with food, hygiene kits, diapers, clothing and other essential material needs.
• Services were provided to the Aurora Police Department personnel, which included at-risk youth afterhours drop-off, availability for 24-hour drop off for homeless families in need of shelter, and overnight emergency shelter for single men and women. Total served in 2011: 571 individuals.
• 88 Arapahoe County adults, parents and families received emergency housing.
• 63 Arapahoe County youth were served within the Residential Child Care Facility (RCCF).
• 185 families (472 individuals total) received 1,200 donated toys last Christmas through Comitis' Toys for Tots distribution program. Blankets were also distributed to families in need.
• A Thanksgiving Dinner was made and served at Comitis to families in need in the community.
• 50 individuals completed Functional Family Therapy (FFT). FFT emphasizes the protective factors of families, while being respectful of the needs and terms of individual family members. A Blueprint-designated Model Program, FFT has been highly successful in effectively reducing recidivism for juvenile offenders, reducing youth involvement in foster care and institutions, and reducing costs of family treatment over time. As a flexible therapeutic program, FFT can be delivered onsite at Comitis, or in the family's home, and many times the therapy begins at Comitis and is completed at home, once a youth is reunified. Approximately 100 were served within Comitis' four-season/inclement weather emergency shelter.

B) The lingering effects of the recession have created an increased need for social services, especially in the areas of homelessness, hunger and basic transportation. Below are Comitis' 2011 advancements in capacity-building, which helped mitigate its increased caseload:

• Comitis was the recipient of a 15-passenger Dodge van from the City of Aurora. This surplus vehicle was donated on March 6, 2012, and provides essential transportation for clients.
• In August of 2012, renovation on the shelter's main kitchen will be completed. Funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs. Comitis has also dedicated eight shelter beds to be specifically reserved for homeless veterans, with an emphasis on female veterans.

C) Comitis has a strong reputation in Arapahoe County as being the "go to" place for emergency needs, and it was recognized for its service with two major awards in 2011-2012, honoring its successful, above-and-beyond delivery of services. Community awards/accolades include:

• Nomination for 2012 Eagle Award. In the words of the awarding agency, Housing Colorado, "this prestigious award celebrates the extraordinary accomplishments and outstanding leadership in housing and support services. The award honors the individuals that soar to new heights in their work to ensure safe, decent, affordable housing for all Coloradans."
• The 2012 Public Health Hero Award from the Tri-County Health Department for its work in HIV/AIDS mitigation on a regional level.
In addition to these programmatic accomplishments, Comitis will continue to provide Arapahoe County with:
• A 24-hour help/crisis telephone line that provides preventive and early intervention services for individuals with a broad spectrum of issues, including individuals who are homeless, actively suicidal and/or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These services reduce the burden on Arapahoe County, as many callers might otherwise seek assistance from law enforcement/911.
• A dedicated telephone line for law enforcement use, which also is available to workers of the County Department of Human Services and legal guardians of youth in the Comitis shelter. This dedicated phone line provides a responsive contact point for law enforcement personnel to consult and communicate with Comitis staff.
• Emergency food and other supplies for human needs (e.g., diapers, clothing), as well as assistance obtaining financial benefits, for persons at high risk of homelessness or others in crisis.
• 24-hour crisis outpatient counseling for individuals, couples and/or families in emergency situations.
• Scheduled crisis counseling for individuals, couples and/or families.
• A 22-bed shelter that provides emergency housing for at-risk/troubled youth. Youth intake methods include:
o Self-intake (i.e., runaway/homeless youth)
o Parental- or legal guardian-involved intake (i.e., law enforcement can refer a family in crisis)
o County departments of human services. Comitis' youth shelter housing is licensed by the Colorado Department of Human Services as a Residential Child Care Facility
o Referrals from the Arapahoe County Juvenile Assessment Center and other juvenile centers.
o Youth in crisis who are brought in by local law enforcement officers
o Youth referred and/or brought in by other concerned parties
o A 50-bed shelter offering emergency housing for adults and families with infants and children. Adult intake methods include:
o Self-referrals
o Law enforcement referrals, either by phone or by directly bringing in persons in crisis.
o Clients referred by other concerned parties
• Educational forums to promote prevention of crises and problems at schools, churches, businesses, service clubs and sites where youth congregate. Topics include prevention of: substance abuse, suicide and runaways, as well as other significant community and law enforcement issues.

Needs Statement

The top 7 current needs of the Comitis Crisis Center are:

1) Unrestricted donations to support operations

2) Unrestricted donations to assist in increasing capacity

3) Donation of goods, such as laundry detergent, paper goods,
and/or toilet paper

4) Donation of new/gently-used washers and dryers

5) Volunteers

6) Donation of perishables, such as fresh fruit and/or vegetables, dairy products and proteins (i.e. beef, pork, chicken, fish)

7) Hygiene products (i.e. feminine products, soaps, shampoo, deodorant, etc).

Background Statement

Comitis Family Services

Serving our community since 1970

Comitis, pronounced ko-MY-tis, means friendship or companionship. It is used to build the word community. Comitis is a community of skilled professionals, caring volunteers, and enthusiastic supporters.

The Comitis Crisis Center, Inc. began operations in August 1970 with an initial mission of providing alternative assistance to youth with substance abuse problems. Comitis was the first program to provide services in this Federal region for runaway/throw-away youth in 1971. Today, Comitis offers a comprehensive program of services, from emergency housing, crisis intervention, short term treatment, aftercare, outreach, and education and prevention services to Aurora persons ranging from infants to senior citizens. We are the resource in our community for the homeless, the near-homeless and working poor. We are part of the Aurora's "Cold Weather Alert" program working alongside Aurora Warms the Night, and the Aurora Police Department. We provide a place to stay and a range of material resources including food and general nutritional items, diapers, bus tokens, and other resources that meet basic human needs. When people come to us, they usually have spent all of their money on rent, utilities and gas and have no money for needed nutritional and human material need items.

Our services help individual become more stable and self-sufficient.

Executive Director Statement

Dear community supporters and colleagues,

Never has the need been greater to provide for the basic mental health and physical needs of the Aurora community and the regional community as a whole. With your support, we can mitigate the social challenges of our time and move our community into a place of better health, wellness, and sustainability.

On behalf of our Board of Directors and Staff, I am proud to present The Comitis Crisis Center to the community. I would like to present a brief but impressive overview of our accomplishments in helping adults, children and families reclaim their lives from poverty and homelessness. The needs of homeless families has been on the forefront of our efforts in for the last 42 years.

Comitis Crisis Center has 40 individuals currently housed in the shelter. At capacity the shelter can house 42 adults and 24 children, 10 Youth (ages 11-17/Youth Shelter) totaling 80 residents. Comitis has 14 emergency overnight spaces available.

In 2011, The APD and Aurora 911 referred 2,300 persons to our 24-hour help line. In 2011 to date, APD has referred 563 individuals to the Comitis Crisis Center for a variety of reasons, (emergency shelter, food, bus tokens, day shelter, homeless run away youth, Victim's Assistance) At this time we have two women who are pregnant. We have six children under the age of five years old and we provide, on average, 160 meals per day to residents and emergency shelter individuals.

Comitis is the primary emergency shelter for Aurora Police Department and Aurora Police Depart-ment's Victim's Assistance Services (APD VAS). We are called upon nightly by the Aurora Police Department and take in, on average, three emergency housing individuals each evening.

As Executive Director of the Comitis Crisis Center, I am proud of our professional and licensed staff. At any time of crisis, we are uniquely-positioned to offer mental health and trauma assistance, as well as serve the basic needs of individuals through the provision of safe shelter, food, and clothing.

We look forward to building upon our 42 years of success as one of Aurora's staple service agencies.

Robert Dorshimer

Board Chair/President Statement

Dear Community Leaders and Advocates,

As President of the Board of Directors for the Comitis Crisis Center, I am truly proud of the work that our agency has accomplished in these increasingly difficult times.

The Comitis Crisis Center has been a beacon of hope and safety for the Aurora Metro community for over 42 years. Comitis not only provides for the emergency needs of those in need-such as food, clothing, and shelter-but also provides access to immediate care for mental or physical issues.

Comitis comes from the Latin word for "friendship." It is where we derive the words community, comrade, and most importantly, compassion.

Please partner with the Comitis Crisis Center with the intent of fostering compassion, mutual-understanding, and goodwill toward all those who we call our neighbors.

Cory Barrett
Board President

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