'No place to call home' for Englewood's homeless

Colorado Community Media's ongoing series, “No Place to Call Home,” explores the reasons behind the rise in homelessness in Englewood and the response from various parts of the community, from city government to nonprofits, the faith community and schools.

The series also reports on the challenges homeless people face while trying to regain stability in their lives.

Reporter Ellis Arnold spent two months researching and reporting this third part of the series, which focuses on how city governments and school districts — and a coalition of churches and nonprofits — are working to address the issue.

The second part of the series explores the relationship between homeless individuals and law enforcement, the court, and other public institutions. The first part takes a look specifically at the rise in homelessness in Englewood, how advocates and officials have observed that, and how a community coalition came together to address the issue.

Arnold, 24, graduated from University of Colorado-Boulder in 2017 with degrees in journalism and political science. He covers the cities of Englewood and Centennial. He can be reached at 303-566-4109 or earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

Part Three

Englewood coalition on homeless finds strength, success in numbers

Robert Balukas was one of many people in Englewood living out of sight, without shelter, struggling to survive in a city where he once carried the key to his own residence. But when he met a man at …
More of Part Three
A sign that reads, "Camping prohibited" based on City of Sheridan law stands along the South Platte River on Jan. 28 near the city's border with Englewood.
South Denver metro cities search for role on homeless
Winding through the south metro area is the South Platte River, an informal thoroughfare for people experiencing homeless, where … Read More
Robert Balukas, 55, a formerly homeless man and an advocate for Change the Trend Network, sits April 16 at Giving Heart homeless-services center in Englewood. Giving Heart is part of Change the Trend, a coalition of nonprofits, the Englewood police, churches and service providers working to address homelessness in the area.
‘If I could do it, anyone could do it’
Robert Balukas was the man you’d see lying on a piece of cardboard on a sidewalk in downtown Denver and panhandling near the … Read More
Steve Whitcomb, 64, left, soaks his feet and speaks to Dr. Ann Smith-Rudnick on March 17 at Wellspring Anglican Church’s Wellness at the Well medical care program, which is held two Sundays per month. Whitcomb, who has lived in Englewood all his life, isn’t homeless — he “just needed help with his feet,” he said.
‘Graduating’ from homelessness with Change the Trend
A 52-year-old man held out a hand while a young medical student applied pressure — the man lost a plastic cast a week ago, he … Read More
The front of the Roscoe L. Davidson Administration Building, the district office building for Englewood Schools.
Englewood, Sheridan, Denver school districts help shoulder homelessness
Every week in Englewood, Sheridan and Denver, hundreds of students sit in class, turn in their work, walk out of their schools in the … Read More
Terry Johnson, 44, stands March 17 in front of Wellspring Anglican Church at 4300 S. Lincoln St. in Englewood. Johnson, born and raised in Long Beach, California, has lived in Colorado for about 20 years and came here to escape gang violence. Once a “functioning addict,” he became homeless after losing an apartment in Aurora in 2009. He’s a full-time online student at Bemis Public Library in Littleton, trying to get a GED and commercial driver’s license. He often comes to Wellspring on Sundays, where a food pantry and medical clinic program operate twice a month.
‘A lot of us just had a hard time’
What some people wish we all knew about homelessness: “Not all the people who are homeless are vandals and criminals. A lot of us … Read More
Part Two

For homeless people, the streets, and the laws, are often gray areas

To Englewood police Sgt. Tracy Jones, the homeless situation on the city’s central streets is a row of stops — the light-rail station, the library, the Englewood Trolley bus route, the Walmart, …
More of Part Two
Nick Leewaye, left, and Amanda McGuire stand June 26 at Giving Heart Englewood, a homeless-services center on the 4300 block of South Broadway. McGuire grew up in the south metro area and has been homeless for most of the last year.
‘Where are we gonna go? There’s nowhere to go’
Amanda McGuire walked up to collect her belongings from a shed in Englewood one day in April. She and her partner had been living in … Read More
A tote bag of cans, plates and food containers next to a garbage bag of other materials and a beer can along South Platte River Drive in Englewood May 6. Personnel from the City of Englewood, outside homeless-resource volunteers and other governmental agencies carried out a cleanup of the river in January, during which about two dozen camps were located and about 25 truckloads of trash were removed from along the river.
What property is public or private?
Unlike Denver, where a 2012 law bans camping on private and public property, Englewood does not have a law specifically barring … Read More
Joe Jefferson, Englewood’s municipal judge and former mayor, emphasizes “restorative” practices in the courtroom. Many of his efforts to better the lives of defendants focus on those who are homeless. It’s important “not just to punish, but to restore and rehabilitate.”
Ruling with ‘human element’ in mind
Across the hall from his old seat as mayor on Englewood City Council, Joe Jefferson has donned the judge’s robes and brought with … Read More
Left, Englewood police Sgt. Reid McGrath, and on bottom right, Officer Heidi Bradley, sitting in a room with other officers June 15 at the Englewood Police Department headquarters near West Hampden Avenue and South Elati Street. McGrath heads the Impact Team of officers who address “problem areas” in the city.
Police integrate mental health component into work with homeless
On a late spring day in June, Englewood police Sgt. Reid McGrath described a call about a woman who said she was hearing voices — a … Read More
Randall Thompson, who has been homeless for 5 1/2 years in the Denver-metro area, stands near the CityCenter Englewood shopping center in July with his belongings, which he carries in shopping bags stacked on a scooter. Food, documents, clothes, a camera and mail sit among the assortment. Thompson, in his late 50s, frequently comes to the CityCenter area along West Hampden Avenue, a few blocks west of South Broadway.
Without family, ‘I had no options’
In a patch of grass just out of the hot sun, Randall Thompson lay near the sidewalk along South Cherokee Street near the CityCenter … Read More
Englewood library, government offices up security
Like other public spaces around the city, Englewood’s library has become a place where homeless individuals are a common part of the … Read More
Swedish Medical Center sees ‘slight increase’ in number of homeless patients
At the east end of Englewood’s central corridor, Swedish Medical Center treats as many as a half-dozen homeless individuals per day … Read More
Part One

Homelessness in Englewood: No place to call home

During a cleanup along the South Platte River in January, Englewood police counted 21 campsites with about 30 people living on its east banks. Some 25 truckloads of trash, human waste, syringes and …
Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.