HOWARD WATKIN

Daily Point of Light # 2175 Jun 5, 2002

Urban Peak was founded in 1988 by members of the Capitol Hill community, in Denver, Colorado, in response to the growing numbers of homeless youth gathering in the neighborhood. What began as a drop-in center and street outreach program has evolved into a full service agency providing a complete continuum of services to homeless and runaway youth.

Urban Peak is truly unique in that it is the only agency in Colorado providing programs exclusively for homeless and runaway youth, including licensed emergency overnight shelter dedicated to homeless and runaway youth under the age of 21. Urban Peak has many different programs: street outreach, emergency shelter, GED classes, job training and placement, medical care, case management, and housing assistance. Each youth that comes into the shelter is required to commit to a carefully monitored case plan for how he/she will exit life on the streets. The youth are required to follow rules, help with chores, and adhere to their case plan in order to stay at the shelter. For youth under 18, contact is made with the legal guardian within 24 hours to determine if the youth can return to a safe home.

Urban Peak operates an extensive volunteer program. Volunteers help with street outreach, tutor youth in the school and computer lab, help with meals, work in the medical clinic and mentor the youth. In 2000, 647 youth received services through Urban Peak. Forty-eight percent of those youth left the streets permanently.

In 1999 Urban Peak Housing Corporation was established to provide housing for homeless and runaway youth. This corporation owns and operates a 17-unit apartment complex and master leases two additional offsite units. These units provide a permanent housing opportunity for youth with disabilities. In 2000, 33 youth were served, with an average length of stay of nine months.

In December of 2000, Urban Peak Colorado Springs was established after the Colorado Springs community asked for help serving its own homeless youth population. Currently drop-in services such as case management, job training and placement, GED classes, and medical care are provided in this community.

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