Assisting very low income families in Colorado, including senior citizens, veterans, and homeless families, Volunteers of America is one of the state’s leading non-profit organizations. They can help feed the hungry, house the homeless, and care for those who are most at risk, such as the elderly and disabled. Some of their main resources are noted below.
Hunger prevention from Volunteers of America is available through various nutrition and food assistance programs. These were created in an effort to assist residents with meeting their nutritional needs. The agency will provide free emergency food, grocery shopping assistance for senior citizens and the disabled, or information on local food pantries and soup kitchens. Fresh vegetables, produce, dairy, and baked goods are also available to the needy.
VOA's Meals on Wheels drivers work on a volunteer basis. They operate in many counties in Colorado, including Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Douglas, Jefferson, Gilpin and Larimer. The program will deliver low cost or free meals to low-income elderly and disabled individuals who are unable to leave their homes. Each meal served to them consists of an entrée, vegetables, fruits, milk, and breads in quantities that account for at least one-third of the recommended daily nutrients.
All of the meals served in Colorado are designed to be low in cholesterol, fat and sodium, and high in the vital nutrients older adults need without adding extra calories. Additionally, Meals on Wheels staff provide seniors with information about good nutrition habits. Also, there is seasonal aid provided too in Denver, including Turkeys at Thanksgiving or a free, hot Christmas meal.
If and when needed, case managers from VOA in Colorado will often have referrals to other area charity agencies for needed services. MOW services are free of charge, though they do encourage donations to cover overhead costs, from clients. However, no one from the community is denied service because of an inability to pay.
Frozen Meals on Wheels, or FMOW, is a variation on the Meals on Wheels concept. This service also delivers meals and food items to Larimer County homebound residents aged 60 and older. The difference is that these meals are delivered frozen so this means they can be stored and then reheated at the discretion of the disabled or senior client.
For those Colorado residents that are more mobile, free nutritious meals are provided at regional Congregate Dining centers. This resource is offered as part of VOA Seniors’ Nutrition Program. In addition to hot lunches or dinners, this program gives seniors and their spouses the opportunity to access community resources.
Helping the homeless is a priority. There are thousands of homeless veterans, men, women, single parents, and children in Colorado. The VOA’s Colorado Branch has provided them with clothing, food, meals, shelter, and support programs. While many of these housing resources are for the Denver metropolitan area, other programs are administered statewide.
Volunteers of America of Colorado operates a number of programs that offer short and mid term shelter. This includes one night's refuge from the streets to long-term programs providing guidance in reaching the goal of self-sufficiency. There are also cold weather, winter shelters available.
Affordable housing options are available for senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and those working toward homeownership. Program volunteers are available to help in the process of matching applicants with government supported, low income or public housing. Or they may be rent subsidized housing or apartments.
The programs can include the federally funded, project-based Section 8, those from United Way partnerships or the tax credit program. Support programming provided at the VOA housing complexes includes computer centers, Service Coordination Program, which matches the needs of residents with appropriate community services; free meals; transportation assistance; and food from federal government commodities programs.
Sanctuary Apartments is another option. This is an independent-living for adults aged 62 and older. Sanctuary is categorized as rent Subsidized Housing through HUD, with each resident paying 30 percent of their monthly income in rent. Please call 970-225-2116 for more information.
Funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the SSVF - Support Services for Veteran Families Program operates on the principle that every Colorado veteran and their family has a right to affordable, safe, and comfortable housing. Through case management, outreach and assistance with obtaining benefits and emergency financial resources, Colorado of America Colorado seeks to prevent veterans and their families from becoming homeless. Not only that, but SSVF will rapidly re-house those who were evicted and are homeless, ultimately breaking the cycle. This is accomplished by assisting with security deposits or any first months rent that may be due for a new home.
YTP - Youth Transitions as well as Housing for Young Mothers (HYM) programs assist homeless young people, including single parents, with rental payments. These programs also provide a variety of support services and referrals in counties such as Jefferson and many others. There is a goal of helping participants work toward long term self-sufficiency.
Both of the housing programs referenced also offer case management services to support clients in their efforts to gain education, employment or job training. Case managers from VOA also encourage an independent lifestyle, good parenting skills, and more. As a part of these programs, the Bannock Youth Center encourages participants to take advantage of job-search assistance, mentoring, meals, and life skills classes.
Head Start is an inclusive, federally-funded preschool program for children from low income families in Colorado. It is for those aged three to five. In addition to providing educational services, meals, special needs services, and health care referral for the children, Head Start provides social services for the entire family. Head Start also links parents of the child with a number of cooperating community agencies, such as those in Adams or Arapahoe. So VOA can refer people to food pantries, low income housing, clothing, education, and job training.
The Caring Companion Program is a non-medical respite service for caregivers of seniors or a disabled person. It also provides great benefits to the care recipient. Each program volunteer undergoes extensive training before being matched with a compatible client. Volunteers visit the client's home on a regular schedule that is agreeable to the volunteer, the client, and the client’s regular caregiver.
The program provides a great opportunity for recipients to engage in social interaction with a new companion, who is there just for the purpose of visiting with them. The Caring Companion Program is available to Colorado residents age 60 or older.
Volunteers of America Colorado provides coverage to many Colorado communities. The main office is at 2660 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80205, 303-297-0408. While all programs are not offered in all counties, referrals may be provided.
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