The youth homeless shelter in downtown Colorado Springs is splitting from its Denver-based nonprofit affiliate, and it’s getting a new name in the process.
Beginning Tuesday, the nonprofit Urban Peak Colorado Springs will become The Place — an homage to early plans for the organization’s shelter when it was created 19 years ago.
“We just thought it was such a great way to honor the original intent of ensuring that there’s always a place for youth to find hope and help and get off the streets here in El Paso County,” said Shawna Kemppainen, the organization’s executive director.
The change comes as the nonprofit splits from its longtime affiliate, Urban Peak Denver. The move was made to give the local nonprofit more flexibility in addressing issues specific to Colorado Springs — a luxury afforded by the local nonprofit’s growing financial stability, Kemppainen said.
The group serves homeless teens and youths ages 15 to 24 through street outreach, job placement assistance and housing. It also operates a shelter for people no older than 20. From Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018, the organization served nearly 700 people.
The nonprofit still will work closely with the Denver-based organization. No local programs or plans for expansions will be affected by the move, Kemppainen said. That includes a program funded by the Colorado Department of Human Services to embed behavioral health workers with the nonprofit’s outreach team by the end of October.
“We’re now ready to have complete autonomy and make all of those decisions on our own, of course with our local community,” Kemppainen said. “This is all about community working together. This is really about strength, and it’s super exciting for us.”