Angel Flores is the lead pastor at Mosaic Church in Evans. He is a member of the board of directors at United Way of Weld County.
In the book “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll, the queen tells Alice “I’m one hundred and one, five months and a day.” Upon hearing this statement, Alice is beside herself. As a 7-year-old little girl, she can’t believe anything as impossible as someone being that old. To this the queen responds: “I daresay you haven’t had much practice, ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
The work that United Way of Weld County is doing with Weld’s Way Home and the cold weather shelter was once thought impossible.
It was said that: Weld County won’t support a cold weather shelter, it’s not going to happen. We’re never going to find a location. The funding just isn’t there.
Yes, that sounds impossible, and maybe it is. Maybe it’s too much work for any one person to take on, maybe it’s too much money for one person to fund. Maybe it’s impossible.
But it didn’t sound impossible to the people who partner with United Way of Weld County. Working together as a part of a much larger initiative to end homelessness in Weld County and utilizing the “Housing First” model that’s seen so much success around the country, we are experiencing major victories in the fight against homelessness.
This is important work because the “homeless” aren’t just faceless drifters who hitchhiked in or are just passing through. More than half of those experiencing homelessness in Weld County are from Weld County. They are people with names that we know. We sat next to them in kindergarten and we played on the same basketball team in middle school, but somehow their life has taken a different turn than ours and they find themselves in a place of vulnerability and need. That is where we as a community have come together and locked arms to take on this challenge.
The cold weather shelter is up and running this season and we have been averaging 30 guests every night. These are 30 men and women from our community who now do not have to sleep out in the cold.
In October we all read about two people whose lives were lost in Greeley while they struggled to keep warm while sleeping in their car. My hope is that through the combined efforts of our community in which United Way of Weld County is leading the way, we don’t ever have to read another story like that.
While a cold weather shelter is a HUGE START in ending homelessness, the efforts of Weld’s Way Home are reaching far beyond that. We are working on finding permanent housing for the most vulnerable in our community and those efforts are seeing real results:
Veterans Assessed – 371
Veterans Permanently Housed – 254
Adults Assessed – 451
Adults Permanently Housed – 82
Families Assessed – 114
Families Permanently Housed – 52
I know that finding permanent housing for every homeless person in Weld County might seem impossible, but at United Way of Weld County, we believe in the impossible….
“Why, sometimes we’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
To learn more visit: weldswayhome.org