Urban Peak ignites the potential in youth to exit homelessness and create self-determined, fulfilled lives.
Urban Peak is a nonprofit organization established in 1988 in response to growing concern among residents and businesses in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood about the increasing numbers of homeless youth living on the streets and in alleys. What began as a drop-in center near the corner of East Colfax and Pennsylvania became an overnight shelter in a church basement. In 1998, the agency constructed and opened Colorado's first licensed homeless youth shelter with 40 beds in Denver, where youth ages 15 to 21 are able to access a full continuum of services.
Over the years, Urban Peak acquired two apartment buildings (each with 16 units of affordable housing) for youth who are ready for more independent living. One complex is specifically for youth recovering from substance abuse addictions (the STAR Program), while the other (Rowan Gardens) serves youth with disabilities, including mental illness. Residents of these buildings continue to receive case management and other support services from Urban Peak, as do youth who reside in a 36-unit apartment building owned by the Denver Department of Social Services and managed by Urban Peak, and youth who receive Section 8 housing vouchers assigned through Urban Peak.
In the spring of 2003, Urban Peak merged with The Spot Youth Center, a nighttime youth drop-in center established in 1993. The result has been expanded services for the populations of youth served by both agencies. The cross-over in service delivery has streamlined the agency's ability to meet the variety of needs represented in the population of marginalized youth that we serve. Urban Peak Denver is recognized by the IRS as a nonprofit organization and is governed by a committed 24-member Board of Directors.
"I really appreciate wonderful human beings, such as yourself. Whether you donate for tax write offs or for the knowledge that great people sometimes need a little help, and that our benefit to society will be a sound investment. Because you have helped provide a temporary home for myself, I can focus on my schooling and my job, instead of spending my days looking for food and a place to sleep. I know you will not regret helping me in my time of need." Alex, Urban Peak Youth
"One of the things I noticed first when I came to Urban Peak last August was the immediate acceptance of queerness (both sexuality and gender) among staff and youth. In my experience, the vast majority of trans and queer youth are on the street because of family intolerance. These youth have been asked to leave - or been forcefully pushed out of - their homes and communities after coming out to their families. When they arrive at UPD's shelter, they are terrified and completely unsure of the situation because, at first glance, it's another potential place where their queerness is unacceptable and possibly endangering to them. Within their first week at our shelter, I see this fear and these barriers slowly start to fade as they realize this space truly is a safe one for them. Often times, it is the first space/home/community that allows them fulfill their identities in every way." Calvin, Urban Peak LGBTQ Case Manager
"I never thought I would finish [my GED] and it really made me feel good and that I can move forward to bigger things in life. This program was so motivating and encouraging. It really made me feel like I could do great things." Jonathan, Urban Peak Youth