Convening communities in Colorado to help single parent families
Through IICF support, Warren Village hosts monthly events to support single parent families
As we head into the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) 2022 Week of Giving, it is important to recognize and support historically marginalized communities. Statistically, single parents often experience systems of poverty and have access to less resources to achieve economic mobility. Warren Village in Denver, Colo. serves unhoused and unstably housed low-income families. It provides families with the space and resources to achieve that economic mobility and navigate and disrupt systems of poverty through a 2Gen approach to empower both parents and children.
In 1974 citizens and business professionals in Denver saw an influx of single-parent families struggling to subsist amid rising rates of poverty, family violence and homelessness. Those community members, seeking a way to support families as they worked toward economic independence founded Warren Village. The founders of Warren Village envisioned an “intentional community” where families could live in a safe and decent temporary home while working toward autonomy.
Just like those early founders, our mission at Warren Village is to help low-income, single-parent families achieve sustainable personal and economic self-sufficiency. To achieve this mission, Warren Village employs an integrated approach of safe and affordable housing, onsite early education and childcare services, and adult self-sufficiency programs to offer a support system responsive to the social and economic challenges of one of Denver’s most vulnerable populations. We focus on unleashing the power of single parents so they can change the trajectories of their lives.
Warren Village residents are primarily single mothers between the ages of 21 and 29 with one child under the age of five. Less than 50% are employed when they arrive, 100% are low-income, 100% were previously unhoused or experiencing housing instability, and a majority possess no higher than a high school diploma or GED. Annually, between 80 and 90% of residents move on to permanent, stable housing with approximately 30% moving into and maintaining market rate rental housing. In 2021, 86% of exiting residents completed a degree or were on track toward earning a degree or certificate.
The organization’s Two-Generation (2Gen) approach to working with parents and children on major developmental stages creates a multiplier effect that catapults both generations toward success. When our residents have a safe place to live and have access to quality care and education for their children, they are empowered to make real change. Entennzia, a Warren Village resident supports this notion, “Having places like Warren Village, it's amazing. l feel like I have another helping hand, like I don't have to do this by myself. I am not alone in everything that I do. I am building a community here that I can turn to when I move out. I will have the alumni community. I want to nurture young moms and young women and give back to Warren Village someday.”
To help nurture our community of helping hands and like minds, Warren Village hosts Monthly Family Nights at Cheesman Park in Denver. Monthly Family Nights are a time for residents and volunteers to gather, converse, share a meal and spend time building their community. For volunteers, these evenings are an impactful way to get to know our families and feel a deep sense of connection to our mission. Family Nights provide residents with the time and space to get to know each other and build relationships. They share experiences, learn about one another, and their children play together. As their connections grow, they share advice about career paths, parenting and more. This opportunity to build a network and strengthen the sense of community is critical to our families’ success as they work towards self-sufficiency.
With these events on hold since 2020, Warren Village was thrilled to bring Monthly Family Nights back in the summer of 2022. The support of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) was instrumental in making these events a success this summer. In June volunteers from IICF joined Warren Village to provide dinner and plan activities for 18 families, totaling more than 50 people joining the June Monthly Family Night. Volunteers also helped families make kites, played wiffle ball with the kids, and did face painting.
This Week of Giving, we hope you’ll join us and IICF in our support of single-parent, low income families in our community. To learn more please visit https://warrenvillage.org/.