This story is a testament to the Road Called Strate and the wonderful work that they do, as well as other community groups in Denver who are called upon and don't recieve the support from the state that they should.
Rocky Mountain News
Carl Anderson is home for the holidays. He was last year, too. But last year, home was a 16th Street Mall bench, or a mattress at the Denver Rescue Mission.
He was homeless last Christmas. He is homeless no more.
Now, Anderson has an apartment. His wife, Tammy, is with him. And their daughter, Kirelle.
Last year, he was alone and wasn't sure where he was going to sleep.
"I was five weeks in Jesus Saves, give or take," he said. "I was five weeks in bus stops. I didn't have no place to sleep, no bed. The mall bench - that was my house, man."
His troubles began long before last year. He moved from Louisiana to Denver about 10 years ago. Then he started messing with drugs - dealing and doing. He went to prison, lost his home, almost lost his family.
He was in a halfway house in Colorado Springs - no room in Denver - when he was released.
His wife was pregnant and in jail in Denver. So he came home, even though he had no home to come to.
The baby was due in weeks. And Anderson was sweating. He feared that when his wife gave birth, if he couldn't prove he had a permanent address, the government would take his baby away.
"In order to find a place to live, you have to have a job," he said.
So he was handing out resumes to any business that would take them.
He put up with the glares from people who were better off, tried to ignore others who looked beyond him, not seeing him.
"I was walking and praying," he said.
Thanks to a chance encounter in downtown Denver, he found hope where he had none, a job when he was out of work.
"It all came together like Super Glue," he said.
At the time, Ray Washington was working for A Road Called STRATE, a nonprofit that offers counseling and other help to guys down on their luck as well as fatherhood classes to recently discharged inmates and to single dads or those who have lost custody of their children. STRATE stands for Society's True Rehabilitative Attitude Toward Ex-Offenders. The Colorado Department of Human Services funds the fatherhood program.
"I was on the mall, recruiting dads for my program, handing out cards," Washington said.
Anderson asked Washington what he was doing.
"I handed him a card. I told him to come and see me. And he did," Washington said. "I gave out about 20 cards. He's the only one who came to see me."
Washington brought Anderson into the program.
"They gave me a lead on jobs. They have a clothing bank. They gave me bus tokens. They gave me food, and I didn't have any place to cook it. I was just thankful for the food," Anderson said.