DENVER — A homeless Denver man found housing and a job after several community leaders worked together to help change his life.
Chris Zeno has been homeless for six years and most recently called Jerryville home. The homeless camp at 27th and Arapahoe streets has been at the center of the "Right to Survive" initiative.
"I pulled up to 27th and Arapahoe, and he was out there actually sweeping the sidewalk,” Jonathan McMillen with My Brothers Keeper said.
Zeno has impressed many people working on Denver’s housing issues.
“The circumstances of him being homeless the circumstances of him and his girl, it tugged at my heart," Kathleen Bancroft with Denver Police said.
Bancroft says there was something different about Zeno. She contacted Councilman Albus Brooks and got in touch with the organization My Brother’s Keeper.
“Every once in a while you will meet individuals in the community that owns property and have vacancies. And that’s what we did here,” Brooks said. “That’s how we have to do as a community around our most vulnerable is make sure that there are housing solutions available and also employment opportunities available.”
Zeno was not only given a home to live rent free for the next 90 days but a job as well.
“I have never been approached and given a job opportunity before,” Zeno said. “If you see opportunities don’t take it for granted. I was told by other people to be skeptical.”
Denver police created a position for him as a community liaison to the homeless.
“He’s going to be a liaison for us with the homeless and see if we can figure out some more ways to do some outreach," Bancroft said. "I can’t think of a better person to speak for them."
Zeno said he is saving up to find a permanent home.
“This is huge," he said. "It only took a month for us to become homeless."