The Gathering Place serves about 8,000 individuals per year and about half consider themselves to be homeless. The other half are housed, but living in poverty and in need of assistance to make ends meet.
To better understand homelessness in our community, the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative conducts an annual Point-in-Time survey (in conjunction with local service providers, including The Gathering Place), which generates an estimate of the number of individuals who are experiencing homelessness in the seven county Metro Denver area. On January 26, 2015, they counted 6,130 individuals experiencing homelessness as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of those counted, 37% were women, 25% were newly homeless, and 49% of "households" were families with children.
Though the number of homeless individuals living in our city is unacceptable, many more are existing one paycheck away from homelessness, struggling to make ends meet as they grapple with decisions such as choosing between buying groceries or paying the utility bills.
What are the demographics of individuals served at The Gathering Place?
The Gathering Place serves women, children, and transgender individuals (known as TGP members instead of clients) who are no or low income, with 47% who say they are homeless, 83% reporting an income of less than $800 per month, and 17% who state they are employed.
All ages are served at The Gathering Place, with our oldest members in their nineties and our Family Program serving members’ children (girls and boys, aged birth to 18). By race/ethnicity, 33% are African American, 29% are Hispanic/Latina, 26% are Caucasian, 9% are Native American, 1% are Asian, 1% are Native Hawaiian, and 1% identify in a way not listed on our intake form. Also, diverse languages, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities are represented.
What are some common causes of homelessness?
Homelessness typically results from an economic crisis, which could be caused by any number of circumstances: loss of a job, housing-related costs, a relationship ending or family break-up, sudden and/or prolonged illness, substance abuse, severe and persistent mental illness, physical and intellectual disabilities, and many other life-altering situations.
While we do see many homeless individuals at The Gathering Place, we also see a number of individuals who are living just "one paycheck" or one crisis situation away from being homeless themselves.
What income is needed to be self-sufficient in Denver?
To answer this, we have summarized information from some trusted experts:
The Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard by estimating community-specific costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. As compared with official poverty thresholds such as the federal poverty line and Supplemental Poverty Measure, EPI’s family budgets show that families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by. The budgets, updated for 2016, find that a single mother with one child in the Metro Denver area, Colorado must have an annual income of $53,116 to “attain a secure yet modest living standard.”
In their 2013 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Colorado, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado found that: “In Colorado, families headed by single mothers have the lowest median annual income of all family types at $26,705.”
If you are interested in detailed information, please see the full 2015 Self-Sufficiency Standard report from the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
Did you know?
- Nearly 1 in 4 homeless individuals is considered newly homeless
- Nearly 1 in 4 homeless individuals is a child
- Families with children are among the fastest growing homeless groups in the United States
- Many homeless people have completed high school; some have attended college and even graduate school
Get Involved with The Gathering Place and join our efforts to provide a safe refuge to women, children, and transgender individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness!