Much like the rest of the year, this holiday season looks different for most of us.
The past months have held loss, disappointment, and challenge. We have each felt the absence of those not been able to be with us.
Yet, in the same heart space, we feel even more deeply connected to each of you through
the faithful support you have continued to offer the guests here at the St. Francis Center (SFC).
The monthly, free COVID-19 testing continued in November. On the 17th, 111 individuals were tested (38 were staff/volunteers and 73 were guests). Out of everyone tested, only 1 guest tested positive. Since the free testing, three staff members have tested positive for COVID.
Cold weather and the increased number of cases in Colorado continues to be top of mind for SFC staff. As such, the COVID-19 safety protocol continues to expand. One recent addition is a new way of partnering with Mile High United Way, who has offered their Park Avenue location as an overflow space on cold and snowy days. The space can hold roughly 50 people, and will be used as an alternative option for guests when the Day Center has reached its new indoor capacity.
(Volunteer, Susan, and a festive guest checking out in the clothing room.)
Safe Outdoor Spaces
SFC has received preliminary funding approval from the city to open the city’s third Safe Outdoor Space (SOS) this winter. SFC believes the SOS model is a positive step in supporting unsheltered community members during the winter months, with their current need to exist while working towards longer term solutions. Given a current lack of affordable housing options, this community-supported approach will positively address neighborhood and business concerns while supporting our unsheltered community members.
The spaces will be managed by partner agencies, supporting up to 60 people in some locations, providing personal insulated sleeping units, portable toilets, a designated food area, drinking water, showers and access to support services. The spaces will be managed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SOS location one is opening this week at First Baptist Church and location two will open next week at Denver Community Church. SFC’s Outreach team will create a new team of staff to help manage the third location and expect it to open in the first few months of 2021.
(Example of proposed SOS layout below, courtesy of Interfaith Alliance.)
Colorado Gives Day 2020
Thank you to everyone who generously donated to SFC on Colorado Gives Day! Because of your commitment and support, more than $53,000 was raised for community members experiencing homelessness. Your generous contributions helps make it possible to continue providing safety, care and support to our guests and SFC apartment residents.
End of Year Giving
If you weren’t able to give on Colorado Gives Day but would like to make a donation to SFC before the end of the year, you can do so here.
As 2020 comes to a close, we want to alert donors to some ways of giving that are unique to this year. As part of a record economic relief package in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, the following 2020 tax-smart moves were enacted:
Charitable-giving deduction: A new deduction of as much as $300 for donors choosing the standard deduction, instead of itemizing. The double bonus is this deduction will appear on tax returns above the line for calculating your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI).
Suspension of charitable-deduction limits: This temporary suspension could affect donors who itemize deductions and want to contribute a larger share of their income this year.
And remember with IRA charitable transfers: Once you are 70½ or older, you typically are eligible to transfer as much as $100,000 a year from an IRA directly to qualified charities and have this distribution considered non-taxable.
Let’s celebrate the work that we have continued, despite the separation, setbacks, and changes. Together we remain stronger, rooted in the shared commitment to stand beside those experiencing homelessness here in our community. Happy Holidays to each of you who makes the mission of the St. Francis Center possible.