I was down there today talking to folks and handing out our literature. What an incredible opportunity for people to see what is really going on folks lives.
Darla LaDeaux and Daryl Jones lost everything when their car was towed.
That was six months ago. Without even identification, they've been turned away from homeless shelters. So they've been sleeping on the streets of Denver.
"It's very hard," LaDeaux said. "It's just me and my husband, and there are people out there who are addicted to crack. If they come smoke near you, they put you in an unsafe environment, so then we have to move, and sometimes we don't get very much sleep."
LaDeaux, 34, and Jones, 41, were among more than 800 homeless people who came to Invesco Field Friday seeking solutions to problems that keep them on the street.
They arrived on special RTD runs from pick-up points around Denver as part of a project organized by the city, United Way, Regis University and the Broncos Wives Drive.
Inside the stadium, they filed up an escalator to the club level, where officials were waiting to connect them to a dozen public services ranging from drug and alcohol treatment to legal services to job training. More than 500 had medical exams, and 284 got flu shots.
They also got breakfast and lunch, as well as packages containing socks and underwear.
More than 800 Regis volunteers — student, teachers and alumni — helped them negotiate a maze of service providers and bureaucratic forms.
"If I was in their position, this would be overload," Russ Shaw, the volunteer who guided LeDeaux and Jones, said of the room buzzing with homeless people and agency representatives.
Many of the homeless people have been on the street for years.
Maurice Collier, 52, said he was homeless from 1995 to 2000, when he got a job as a custodian. He's been back on the streets off and on since that job fell through two years later.
He lives at a Salvation Army shelter.
Collier was at Invesco trying to get glasses.
"I had some but I lost them," Collier said.
An eye exam showed he still needs glasses.
"He definitely can't see far," said Karen Metzger-Adducci, the volunteer who accompanied Collier.
But he won't be getting the glasses soon. Some agencies offer glasses at reduced cost, but none gives them away free — the price Collier can afford.
Collier said he hopes to pick up money beginning next month with a job as a Salvation Army bellringer.
Also looking for glasses was Neal Morris, 42. (Where are reentry services for Neal?) hmmmm?
His glasses were broken during the trip from the state's Crowley County Correctional Facility to a halfway house in Denver when officers crammed his luggage into the van, Morris said.
Morris is under a six-year sentence for forgery and drug possesion.
In addition to seeking glasses, he was waiting on line to have his resume scanned onto a disc, a form some employers prefer.
Jones and LeDeaux live in Scott's Bluff, Neb. Their troubles started when they came to Colorado to visit LaDeaux's son at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center.
They left their car when it stopped running and came back just as it was being towed.
"We don't even know where the car is or who has it," Jones said. Their only possessions now are blankets.
They get food from church programs.
"When it's cold, they come out and give you soup," LaDeaux said.
LaDeaux is a nurse. She believes she can reclaim her job if she can get back to Scott's Bluff.
LaDeaux has relatives there, but they are too poor to help.
At Invesco, Alberto Torres, a volunteer from Colorado Legal Services, was able to find birth certificates on line for LeDeaux and Jones — the first step toward getting a Colorado ID. The birth certificates will be available in about a week from the city.
Jones was able to make an appointment with the Stout Street Clinic, a facility that serves the homeless, so he can get medication for bi-polar disorder. He has been off his medication since losing his possessions.
His behavior has been erratic. But, LaDeaux said, "I know how to handle him."
The couple was not able to get vouchers to stay at a motel Friday.
But Jones said he was happy."At least we're seeing some progress as far as ID, as far as meds," he sai
Rocky Mountain News