Urban Peak youth homeless drop-in center shut down, for now

Author: Mary MacCarthy - May 24, 2017 - Updated: May 24, 2017


One of the main resources for homeless youth in Denver is shut down, for now anyway.

The Urban Peak drop-in Center at 21st and Stout closed its doors on April 28th, citing security concerns.

An incident in late April in which youth from the center and other people gathered nearby interfered in an arrest “escalated to a very dangerous level,” according to Urban Peak Interim CEO Malinda Anderson.

Urban Peak is now working closely with city officials to re-open the drop-in center as soon as possible. A round-table discussion to address options is scheduled with city officials, Denver Police, Councilwoman Deborah Ortega, Councilman Albus Brooks, and others on May 31.

Urban Peak’s other services — which include an overnight shelter and street outreach — are still up and running. And the drop-in center has been able to let some youth into the building by appointment to access much-needed services, which include shower and laundry facilities and healthcare referrals.

Anderson said that, although security was the primary reason for closing the drop-in center, Urban Peak – along with many similar service providers in Denver – is suffering from a lack of resources. “Every provider of services for the homeless in Denver is feeling the strain of there being far more need than capacity, and an increased level of intensity… on the streets,” she told us in an e-mail.

Disappointing development follows big win for Urban Peak

Sign announcing closure at Urban Peak drop-in center in downtown Denver.

The shut-down of the drop-in center follows a high-profile success for advocates of Urban Peak. In March, rookie Democratic state Rep. Leslie Herod of Denver passed House Bill 1055, which creates an income tax check-off to support the charity.

The bill had strong bipartisan support: Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, guided the bill through the Senate (Urban Peak also operates programs in Colorado Springs).

The legislation will put Urban Peak on state income tax returns for up to five years. But the state allows only 20 charities on the form at a time, and Urban Peak has to wait in line for a spot – so any financial windfall from the bill won’t be felt for several years.

Herod said the sudden closure of the drop-in center highlights, more than ever, the need for increased donations to the youth program

“There’s a lot of negativity out there these days, leaving a lot of people unsafe and on the margins – our homeless youth are vulnerable, please give to Urban Peak today,” she said in a phone interview with Colorado Politics.

Mary MacCarthy