According to Isabel McDevitt, CEO of Bridge House – a nonprofit participant of SVP Boulder County – working side by side with SVP some years ago still resonates. The work done with SVP still impacts the organization’s work to better help adults experiencing homelessness access the resources they need for a better future.
“Like many nonprofits that have benefitted from the experience, services, and resources of SVP Boulder County, we really benefitted from strategic visioning around what our organization could become, and the ever more impactful role we could fulfill to meet our community’s needs.
For Bridge House that means not only focusing on addressing homelessness by providing basic needs – like shelter – but also employment and housing opportunities.”
Indeed, in the organization’s 20-year history – the last eight years with McDevitt at the helm – Bridge House has not abandoned its mission for low-barrier services for people experiencing homeless; even as the organization has, according to McDevitt, transformed its mission to also develop a core competency helping individuals get back on their feet – i.e., back to work and into housing.
Explains McDevitt, “SVP Boulder County gave us a foundation to take on a leadership role, countywide, and to take a fresh look at the continuum of homeless services, acknowledging the need for emergency shelter and services – but also building on that to help people exit homelessness entirely.”
Specifically, McDevitt credits Bridge House’s programs – Ready to Work founded in 2012 as the direct result of support from SVP and Path to Home founded in 2017– as demonstrating the successful coupling of shelter with other supports that forges the way toward individuals exiting homelessness.
Currently, Bridge House serves meals and severe-weather overnight shelter to some 1,200 unique individuals per year. Meanwhile, some 44 people in Boulder and another 50 people in Aurora are benefitting from Bridge House’s Ready to Work program that offers a longer-term intervention with jobs and housing that eventually leads to mainstream employment and permanent housing.
Concludes McDevitt, “Ready to Work has a 72% success rate, and Path to Home resulted in some 330 positive exit outcomes last year.”