In the San Luis Valley the isolation, poverty, geographic expanse, and limited economic opportunities give way to great human need. Nationwide, common causes of homelessness include lack of affordable housing, inadequate medical coverage, unemployment, poverty, and disabling conditions. The San Luis Valley struggles with all of these issues. For example, in Alamosa County, the estimated mean (average) wage for a renter is $7.72 an hour. In order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 1.5 full time jobs. In addition to being physically demanding, this amount of work is often impossible to find due to the local unemployment rate of more than 10%. Given that over 20% of people in the Valley live in poverty and less than one in every four residents have any medical insurance, a significant proportion of the Valley’s population lives at high risk for homelessness. Considering the harsh weather conditions and the vulnerable housing situation of La Puente’s service area, our ability to provide emergency shelter is often truly a matter of life and death.
La Puente Home is one of the only organizations in Southern Colorado that supplies emergency shelter services. In 2010, we provided over 9,500 nights of lodging to 643 individuals and 66 families.
We welcome families, migrant farm workers, and other individuals in need to use our services; each guest is allowed to stay for up to one month as they work to get back on their feet. The Shelter has 45 beds that are split into a women’s area, a men’s area, and family accommodations. In addition, there are two public showers available for the use of any community members in need.
Every year during the fall harvest, La Puente Home experiences a large influx as migrant farm workers come to the Valley from around the country. During this time, the need for shelter far outstrips the number of available beds. We try to meet this need as best we can, and also provide resources such as hygiene kits and blankets to people who are finding shelter elsewhere.
La Puente Home realizes that every human being deserves respect and dignity. Often, for those who live on the fringes of society, these conditions are nonexistent or slighted. We attempt to make guests feel welcome and valued, endeavoring to create a space that feels like home. By creating such an atmosphere, we hope to offer the stability people often need to be able to move beyond a homeless situation. Whether one is sitting down for a meal, playing a game of basketball in the backyard, or sharing stories with other guests, the atmosphere is familial. All people from all walks of life are welcome to become a part of the La Puente family.
In addition to providing food, shelter, and a safe environment, the Shelter also addresses needs by connecting guests with community resources and by aiding them in identifying options and setting realistic goals.
Click here to
see a YouTube video of our shelter facilities and hear what La Puente Home means to our guests and community members.
Click here to read Melissa's story about migrant season at the shelter
Click here to read Bailey's tribute to Ken, a former La Puente guest
*The Shelter is always in need of bedding, blankets, and hygiene products or kits.*