Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Housing Program Components
One-on-one housing counseling sessions - Individualized counseling sessions that start the client on a road to homeownership or foreclosure mitigation.
Frequency: No standard amount of time, each client's situation is different. It can take a few months to two years to reach a client's goal. Counseling session occur typically twice monthly for an hour to an hour and a half per session.
Annual Service Target: 90 households
Home Buyer Education Classes - Home Buyer classes cover the entire homebuying process from financing to what to expect as a homeowner.
Frequency: Classes are offered twice monthly and are six hours. Some clients require further one-on-one counseling.
Annual Service Target: 550 individuals
"Don't tell me I can't do it, I'll find a way!" Debra says as she sits with cane in hand at her large dining room table complete with plastic cover and lace placemats. The table she waited a long time to get out of storage after living at the Savannah Suites hotel on Sheridan Boulevard for years before she was able to afford her new home. 55 year old Debra Thompson now lives in a spacious three bedroom home in Thornton with her two sons. To say that she's had a hard life would be a complete understatement. Debra was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles she was one of four siblings. Her father was abusive who at one time broke three of her ribs. Her mother was the one who urged her to move out of the state which she eventually did but after that nothing ever came easy. Debra had ten children, mostly boys and three girls. A few years prior to working with NEWSED one of her sons was murdered in West Denver and around the same time she lost her house and became homeless. On top of that she couldn't work at her long time security job because of a severe on the job injury and was living on disability. "Everything just happened at once, it all came down on me," Debra recalls while staring down at her table. "I made it through, but it was hard."
Debra walks around her impeccably clean house which lingers with the smell of eggs she made herself for breakfast. She's most proud of her large master suite. "Isn't it big?" she beams with a big grin. In her living room there's shelves she had her son put up that hold her limited edition McDonald's glass collection and ceramic clown dolls. She has a lot to be proud of in this home she can finally be comfortable in, on her own terms. She found NEWSED through a computer search while working with Mile High United Way's IDA program. "I saw that there were other agencies but I had a feeling about NEWSED," she recalled. When Debra and her son first entered NEWSED's doors on June 3rd 2013 she had no FICO score and several collections. Her son's collections were double hers with a score in the low 500s. NEWSED Housing Counselor, Mercedes Fuentes, knew that their case would be challenging and would take a long time to get them to the point of home ownership, but in August of 2015 they made it. Debra and her son did it together and now they join the ranks of hundreds of NEWSED success stories. Don't ever tell a strong and resourceful woman like Debra Thompson that something is impossible it's not in their vocabulary. As she walks out on her front porch to have her picture taken she takes in a deep breath of cool Colorado fall air and tells us to, "hurry up, it's getting cold!" Debra is the reason why NEWSED works to build self-sufficiency for people who are considered beyond help. It is her lead that we follow.
Community, Business & Industry
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent
Small Business Programming Components
The ZONE Marketplace Incubator - In 2013, NEWSED launched Denver's first retail incubator - The ZONE Business Connection Center. The ZONE provides small business owners and entrepreneurs basic business training with individualized benchmarks, access to capital and many other customized resources. ZONE clients enjoy an affordable rent in a newly renovated storefront and connections to strategic partners. Currently the ZONE is home to 10 retail businesses in the heart of the Art District on Santa Fe. The storefront maintains regular hours of operation with a rental agreement for clients with dedicated business plan consultation and action planning.
Frequency: Clients are given approximately 10 hours a year of professional business plan consultation and ongoing action planning support of one to two hours a month.
Business Start Up Workshops - Led by a professional business consultant. Workshops provide a comprehensive overview of the business start-up process.
Frequency: Classes are monthly, for two consecutive nights for a total of six hours. There are usually 10 to 15 people in attendance.
Lending Circles - Serves both housing and business clientele. Lending Circles enable people to pool their finances to leverage a small loan and dramatically improve their credit score in a short amount of time.
Frequency: The circle meets once to determine loan aspects. Each person must complete an hour of online financial literacy education.
In 2019, the name changed to the Zone Marketplace Incubator and started offering more comprehensive services for low-income entrepreneurs to start their own small business. We launched a 8-week Business Basics Course that is completely comprehensive covering every topic necessary for smart business growth. Clients come away understanding the concept of per-unit cost, entity development, accounting, marketing, business plans and much more. Classes are offered quarterly and in 2020 we expect to serve 25 to 30 clients per cohort. The course comes with a trainer and access to a community of small business coaches.
Client Highlight - Latasha Bell of Ashea Soaps:
You would think the organic bars of soap that Latasha Bell of Ashea Soaps makes came off the shelf of a high end boutique in downtown Aspen. With fragrant and specialized combinations like sea kelp mixed with lavender, lemon grass and Dead Sea mud in just one of her specialized soaps, sounds fancy but were really made at home with the help of family. Ashea Soaps is the first business to set up shop at NEWSED's newest business assistance program - The ZONE Business Connection Center. The ZONE is Denver's first, and so far only, retail business incubator and will feature eleven businesses in its inaugural year. The goal is to hub these businesses so that they can grow their capacity and connect with program partners to grow their business plans and be ready in the future when they can become fully independent especially in major shopping areas like West Denver's own Art District on Santa Fe. The ZONE is the "in between" step for these small businesses, like Latasha of Ashea Soaps, who want to break into the market at a pace that makes sense and is not overly risky.
The ZONE will leverage Denver's various business development programs by working collaboratively and creatively to give clients who have a product to sell the ability to do so. Programs like Mi Casa Resource Center or the Denver Design Incubator who work with businesses in their initial years creating and developing products. For people like Latasha who utilized Mi Casa and learned how to create her soaps and build a business plan while growing an Individual Development Account, The ZONE is the perfect next step. While at the ZONE she will learn customer relations, selling techniques and have her own furnished retail space in a clean and professional atmosphere. She will also round out her existing business plan and work on areas where her plan needs strengthening through the ZONE's various community partners.
Latasha's hope for The ZONE is, "I want to be placed on a path to self-sufficiency and to be exposed to a great customer base and establish a brand for my business." Small business starts small but with the collective support of the greater Denver community and individual donations to support The ZONE we can begin to graduate individuals year after year so that they may go on to add to the job market and flourish independently.