Organization Evolves to Advocate for Denver’s Homeless

By Danielle Krolewicz

People Rising Against Poverty (P-RAP) is a collaborative group born from what was formerly the Homeless Advisory Committee (HAC) Network. P-RAP includes representatives from agencies such as Denver Homeless Out Loud, BHAC, Cities of Refuse, 9to5 Colorado, El Centro, and Buck Foundation, among others.

Originally, HAC Network operated under the intention of reaching out to service providers in the Denver area to assist in developing more HACs at their respective agencies. However, it was discovered that most service providers do not have the capacity to develop a HAC network as an individual agency. P-RAP is a response to this.

“We have revamped our group to work with the [people] directly affected [by homelessness and poverty] to educate, organize, and collaborate in addressing issues,” said Jennine Jeffries, advisory council coordinator at Bayaud Enterprises.

The primary issues P-RAP will work to address will be the housing crisis in Denver and changing public perception by humanizing people without homes and affected by poverty.

“Humanizing the affected population I think could be part of our efforts in changing the public perception,” said Jeffries. “Changing the narrative, definition, and discourse of what homelessness and poverty truly are will help the masses see [those affected by the issues] as human beings.”

The new name is just the first step in the redevelopment process. As with organizing any new group, a mission and value statement need to be written. The group will also meet to discuss processes, governances, and actions. Sub-committees have been established to act as ambassadors to facilitate these topics, as well as help with grant writing.

The group plans to complete a request for proposal (RFP) from the Denver Foundation to procure funds to support the goals of the group.

“We are in the process of applying for the Denver Foundation Public-Will Building Campaign grant which will be instrumental in supporting our goal of changing public perception and humanizing the affected population,” said Jeffries.

Sorting out the fundamentals and outlining a governance will allow P-RAP to focus on its core cause: affecting positive change in the homeless situation in Denver.

“We are passionate about having a positive impact when engaging in actions and outreach,” said Jeffries. “Oftentimes, there is a lot of agitation and finger pointing… it is our hopes of bringing a positive light to the fight.” 

P-RAP meetings are held on the second Monday of each month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., location determined on a monthly basis. The next meeting will be on July 13 at St. Luke’s. Meetings are open to all who are interested. ■