Joshua Station is an old hotel off of I25 & 8th Avenue, where approximately 26 homeless families try to rebuild their lives. The average stay for a family is two years in this transitional housing program that stresses community development and strong advocacy programs.
The property, purchased in 2001 by Mile High Ministries, is a faith-based community. The staff at Joshua Station works on core issues in a systemic way so these families can get back into the workforce and make the transition to healthy, independent living.
Joshua Station offers holistic advocacy programs that include working on the physical, mental and spiritual well being of each client. There are full programs for the adults as well as the children. Classes offered include such life skills as: communication, working on addictions (all clients must be drug-free or they will be asked to leave), personal financial management and parenting skills.
18-24 months is the typical stay at Joshua Station. Program Director Penny Salazar-Phillips says “The only thing that happens in a 3-6 month stay is you’re trying to figure out where you’ll go next.” So Joshua Station gives its clients a strong community support system. During 2009, 91% of the families that moved into long-term, stable housing remained in stable housing 12 months later.
"A lot of life happens here." says Karen Marchant (Director of Development). "Lots of good stuff and lots of hard stuff, as you can imagine. But it all happens within a community where we are all building relationships with one another. "
To strengthen that sense of community, Thursday nights are a community dinner in the main dining hall. The children have specific education and recreation areas and there are community activities for the adults as well.
Each family at Joshua Station meets with an advocate once a week. “The whole team gives input to a family.” Says Penny. There’s a legal aid clinic and families that have moved out sometimes come back to help out with counseling, tutoring and other support.
Penny says it’s estimated that it cost $65/day to support a family at Joshua Station - $24,000.00/year for a family of three, as opposed to $45K per year to support one homeless person. That’s a dramatic savings anyone can appreciate.