Urban Peak

Urban Peak is the only non-profit organization in Denver that provides a full convergence of services for youth ages 15 through 24 experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. All Colorado youth should have safe housing, supportive relationships and the opportunity for success.

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Shelter

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Homeless

Description

Urban Peak provides emergency shelter in a licensed Residential Child Care Facility to homeless and runaway youth between the ages of 15 and 20 years old. Along with overnight shelter, Urban Peak provides three meals a day, hygiene supplies, clothing, 24 hour staff supervision, life skills groups, access to community events, GED classes, conflict resolution, crisis intervention, and acts as a liaison to emergency responders. Urban Peak also provides program specific services including intensive case management, medical care, referrals to community based education and employment services, mental health services (evaluation, cognitive testing, therapy and psychotropic medication), and referrals to Urban Peak's housing programs and other community based housing programs.

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Evidence of Program's Success

The Emergency Shelter utilizes a comprehensive database to track movement towards independence and self - sufficiency. On average the shelter serves 38 youth every day (meals, Case management, mental health evaluations, etc.). In 2017, UPD served 349 youth.

Urban Peak Housing

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Homeless

Description

Urban Peak develops, owns, and or manages three housing programs to assist youth transition from homelessness to responsible, independent living. Urban Peak identifies the resources and partnerships necessary to provide housing and adds to the pool of affordable housing options for at-risk and homeless youth. Each program provides wrap-around supportive services, including case management and health care.

The Rocky Mountain Youth Housing Program, a joint venture with DDHS, provides transitional housing and supportive services for young people aging out of the foster care system or who are simply homeless.

The STAR (Starting Transition and Recovery) Program provides housing and supportive services to youth with substance addictions.

Rowan Gardens Apartments provide housing and wrap-around supportive services to youth with physical disabilities and mental illnesses.

Urban Peak also manages Family Unification Vouchers that allow youth who have aged out of foster care to receive housing and case management in the community.

149 youth received housing during the 2016 fiscal year.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Matthew came to Urban Peak's shelter as a smart and motivated young man who lacked the necessary support to live on his own. After working with his case manager, Matthew was connected with an 18 month Family Unification Program (FUP) housing voucher. Part of the work completed with Matthew and his case manager included a post-FUP transition plan. Matthew told his FUP case manager that he wanted to "be like him" by helping troubled youth make better decisions. With the advocacy of his case manager, Matthew got a job at his church as a part-time teen basketball coach. As the 18 month voucher came to an end, Matthew and his case manager set up another meeting with the church to see if full-time employment was an option. Because his work with youth has proved to be both meaningful and challenging, Matthew enrolled at the Auraria Campus in downtown Denver and is studying human services management. He plans to continue his work as an advocate for vulnerable youth.

Street Outreach

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Homeless

Description

UPD deploys a specially trained team throughout Denver to find youth on the streets in need of services. Outreach staff distributes hygiene materials, clothing, and food, and works to develop a sense of trust and build safe relationships with street youth. The team also provides referrals for both UPD and partner organization's services such as housing, mental health, and substance abuse treatment. Outreach served 692 youth in 2017.

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Evidence of Program's Success

The evidence that we use to gain an understanding of Street Outreach success is varied. Sometimes it may be a behavioral change, addressing a warrant, or changing high risk behaviors. On the streets, we see success in small ways, such as improvement in hygiene, engagement with a medical health professional, or using prevention materials. Evidence of success relies greatly in the self reporting and observed behavior of each individual youth. Ultimately, when a youth exits the streets we define that as the greatest success because this leads to the stabilization a youth needs for continued success.

Youth Success Story: When John met Miguel with Urban Peak's street outreach team, he was sleeping in alleys and addicted to drugs. Miguel began seeing him regularly while on street outreach and invited him to the downtown Denver resource center for healthy breakfasts during the week. As Miguel worked to build trust with John, he learned that this homeless youth had been in foster care since age three and was now homeless, addicted to drugs, and prostituting himself or selling drugs to support his habits. One day John told Miguel that he was ready to change, and together they completed the paperwork necessary to enroll John in the Family Unification Program through Urban Peak. Together they looked for apartments, and John eventually obtained the modified Section 8 voucher and moved into his own place in Lakewood. Miguel helped him to furnish his first place with furniture, pots, pans, and a big box of food to get started. John is now connected with a Family to Family site where he takes Narcotics Anonymous classes and connects with other individuals who understand his daily struggles. Miguel also linked John with Dr. Deb, a psychiatrist at Urban Peak's shelter, and helped him to complete his SSI paperwork. We are so proud of young people like John who dream beyond homelessness and work hard to make positive changes today for a more promising future tomorrow.

Education and Employment

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)
Homeless

Description

The Urban Peak Education & Employment Program provides youth with individualized employment counseling, resume development, job coaching, employer connections, GED instruction, and assistance with enrollment in high school or post-secondary opportunities, and case management through Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program. Urban Peak provides tutoring, testing materials, and money to take each individual GED test. UPD also facilitates Job Readiness Training, where youth gain the skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment.

UPD's social enterprise venture, Peak Thrift, provides youth retail experience, a paycheck to encourage self-sufficiency, references, and a safe place to forge healthy work relationships.

In 2017, 305 youth participated in E&E.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Youth Success Story: Melissa came to Urban Peak's shelter at age 18 because she needed a place to sleep and had nowhere else to turn. Because her mother could no longer take care of her, Melissa moved from out of state in the hopes of a more promising life in Denver. During her approximately two months at the shelter, Melissa was connected with the Education and Employment team at Urban Peak's downtown campus. Melissa enrolled in the GED program, finished her final two exams with the assistance of the GED Specialist, and earned her GED in May. Supplementary work with Urban Peak staff has led to college campus tours to both ITT and Red Rocks Community College. Additionally, Melissa recently started working at Wendy's, where her assistant manager says she would like to "clone her," because she is so happy with her work as an employee.

Today Melissa maintains her relationship with the Education and Employment team at Urban Peak and is trying to save money in order to move to more stable housing. (She is now living with her aunt.) She is also committed to regaining custody of her two year old daughter and hopes that the stability she has begun to create in her own life will allow her to provide the same thing for her child.

Drop-In Center

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Homeless
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

Urban Peak's Drop-In Center, The Spot, offers a safe, respectful environment for youth to receive a meal, take a shower, do their laundry, and receive medical care. In addition to addressing basic needs, The Spot provides classes on anger management, healthy relationships and life skills which aim to provide youth with the skills needed to maintain healthy relationships, affording them a greater ability to become self-sufficient and ultimately exit the streets. Referrals to Urban Peaks' other programs is an essential role played by the staff at The Spot. The Spot's low barrier approach engages youth no matter where they are on their journey to self-sufficiency. 874 youth accessed DIC services in 2017.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Elvis's journey to The Spot was a good example of how youth want to be exposed to positive creative activities and to move away from negative behaviors. When Elvis was a child his mother stabbed and killed a person in self defense. His mother was sent to prison and Elvis spent some time between foster care and his grandmother and eventually became homeless. It was in this time Elvis connected with The Spot and began break dancing and doing graffiti (legally). Elvis kept going to high school and received a high school diploma after six years of high school enrollment. Elvis continued his involvement at The Spot and eventually joined The Spot staff as an AmeriCorps member. Elvis received Urban Peak's Maverick Thinker Award for his ability to get off of the streets and become self-sufficient, as well as for what he has given back to his community.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.