Salvation Army Closes Overnight Shelter

Charity To Expand To Transitional Housing

The Denver Salvation Army announced Wednesday that it is closing a shelter that provides 100 men a place to stay every night.

The Crossroads shelter, located at 1901 29th St., will close but the final date has not been determined.

The Salvation Army originally announced that it would close the shelter on Aug. 10, but after negotiating with the city of Denver, the organization agreed to push the date back to ensure a good transition for everyone impacted. The city didn't believe that two-weeks notice was enough time to accommodate people affected by the closure.

The Salvation Army said the plan was to focus its resources on expanding the transitional housing programs "in tradition of providing a hand up, rather than a hand out," said Capt. Ron McKinney, spokesman for the Metro Denver Salvation Army.

The transitional housing curriculum provides programmatic steps for homeless men and women who want to change their lives to become self-sufficient again, McKinney said.

"One of the best ways to help people escape homelessness is through effective counseling and case management. We believe that this is the right time to direct our resources where they can do the most good for these homeless men," McKinney said.

The Salvation Army said the expansion of the transitional housing program supports the city of Denver's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.

However, the news is alarming to the Denver Rescue Mission, which is already at capacity and can't add more beds because of a city ordinance.

"Anytime we are looking at a reduction in the number of beds for shelter space, I'm concerned by that," said Brad Meuli, president and chief executive officer of the Denver Rescue Mission.

Meuli said there is a real danger in putting these men on the streets and said it becomes an issue of public safety.

Meuli said the Denver Rescue Mission also has a transitional housing program but uses the overnight shelter to encourage men and women to join. He believed a two-prong approach is the most effective tool in tackling homelessness.

The Salvation Army said it has closed overnight men shelters in other cities such as Phoenix and Los Angeles and have had success.

Crossroads Center first opened in 1983 as an emergency survival shelter for homeless men. It has since expanded its role to include search and rescue operations during extreme winter weather conditions as well as transitional housing for men wishing to become self-sufficient and end their life of homelessness.

Currently, The Salvation Army in Denver operates a transitional housing facility for families, an Adult Rehabilitation Center for men and women with alcohol and drug addictions and a relapse prevention program at Harbor Light.

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