Colfax Ave Announces Colfax Works Pilot Project
Program Will Provide Path to Stability for Those Experiencing Homelessness
The Colfax Ave Business Improvement District announced a pilot project, Colfax Works, that will run from June through August this year. The project will provide employment and supportive services to help provide a path to independence and stability for those experiencing homelessness.
Teams will provide street cleaning services within the BID’s boundaries (approximately Grant to Josephine, between 14th and 16th) for three months over the summer, with the long-term vision of turning it into a year-round, financially sustainable program. In addition to work opportunities, program participants will also receive supportive services such as case management and life skills training.
To execute this pilot project, the BID is partnering with local nonprofit Bayaud Enterprises, who won the bid after an extensive interview process. Bayaud is the organization behind the City’s successful Denver Day Works program and has over 40 years of experience helping people overcome barriers to employment to find sustainable work.
“There’s no silver bullet to end homelessness,” said Scott Kerr, Director of Employment & Opportunity for Bayaud. “We’re excited to combine forces with the BID to provide low-barrier work opportunities and supportive services. It’s an important first step to help people become self-sufficient.”
Michelle Valeri, Communications and Programs Director for the Colfax Ave BID, believes that the next step in helping program participants is to find year-round employment.
“Colfax is part of a vibrant community with a dense residential population and hundreds of commercial businesses,” said Valeri. In addition to providing enhanced services for the neighborhood, Valeri adds that, “through our regular communication with business owners in the district, we have the ability to be a crucial link to help people ‘graduate’ into permanent positions with Colfax businesses.”
The Colfax Ave BID will spend $20,000 on the three-month pilot project. A well-rounded Advisory Committee, comprised of Colfax Ave BID board members and staff, business and property owners, city employees, and representatives from the faith community, will help guide and oversee the project.
Like many urban environments, Colfax is also a place with social service providers, crime, people experiencing homelessness, and mental illness.
Ron Vaughn, the Colfax Ave BID Board Secretary, says that the BID board has explored numerous approaches over the years. “We are excited about the Colfax Works project because it will provide an opportunity to those who are motivated to work and who may not be given the chance otherwise,” said Vaughn. “Though we cannot solve all problems in our neighborhood on our own, we can partner with Bayaud and the City so that our combined abilities are amplified and effective towards a lasting solution.”
You can learn more about the program at www.colfaxave.com/colfax-works.
About Colfax Ave
The Colfax Ave Business Improvement District (BID) promotes economic vitality, implements a clean and safe street program, and advocates on behalf of area businesses among public and private partners. Founded in 1989, the organization is governed by a volunteer board of directors representing a diverse mix of area businesses and property owners and who are appointed by the Mayor. Follow Colfax Ave on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Bayaud Enterprises
Bayaud’s mission is to create Hope, Opportunity and Choice, with work as the means through which people with disabilities and other barriers to employment can more fully participate in the mainstream of life. Since 1969, Bayaud has changed the lives of thousands of individuals in the Denver community by providing employment training, assessment, coaching, placement, and job mentoring services. Bayaud believes that helping individuals gain self-sufficiency is foundational to the health of individuals, families, communities, and the economy of Colorado.