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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

The female-powered ‘Dream Team’ of Pueblo

The+Posada+of+Pueblo+staff+is+a+small-but-mighty+team+of+women+leaders+who+work+for+the+citys+most+vulnerable+members.+%5BToday+photos%2FBrianna+Sammons%5D
The Posada of Pueblo staff is a small-but-mighty team of women leaders who work for the city’s most vulnerable members. [Today photos/Brianna Sammons]

By Cassime Joseph

Posada of Pueblo  

Providing housing and supportive services that empower homeless individuals and families in Pueblo County is Posada’s core mission, and they have lived up to it since 1987. 

With more than 100 units acquired for affordable and emergency housing for the homeless population, and youth transitional housing for the homeless between the ages of 18-24, this local nonprofit team has been working hard to address this significant problem. Posada has acquired property such as the former Sunset Hotel and redeveloped it into a single-occupancy unit for the senior population. Posada is also working on a new affordable housing project it recently purchased.

“We have … one of the lowest vacancies of the state, and to be able to provide housing  in our community is a huge success,” said Veronica Gold, Posada housing stability manager and a guest on the Revelation REV 89’s “T-Wolf Talk.”

According to KOAA Channel 5 News, in 2019 the Pueblo homeless census showed at least 300 people sleeping on streets – and this was before the pandemic. The number may be even higher, due to the difficulty of transportation of homeless people and the accuracy of the count. With this census, nonprofit organizations like Posada are able to take immediate action to help the city tackle this challenging problem. 

“During COVID … there was no emergency COVID shelter for the homeless population, so Posada stepped up. There was a need and Posada fulfilled the need,”  Gold said.

To listen to the T-Wolf Talk podcast “Women of Posada,” click here.

Elko Family Emergency Shelter is the only shelter in the city that keeps families together in one facility. Families get to stay for two months and get assistance with food and clothing. The people at this location will have counselors assist in their journey to become more independent. Families may apply as long as they are employed and follow the program’s guidelines.

“We continue to be the voice for those who do not have one or people [whose voices] are not heard,” Gold said. 

There is more to Posada and the small-but-mighty crew that powers it. This organization also has support services such as housing counseling, life skills, education and employment assistance, legal services, referral to local agencies and affordable housing. 

The organization pays special attention to our homeless veteran population as well. According to Veronica Gold, Posada provided housing for 16 homeless veterans at the Monterey Apartments and at 16 newly renovated units at Hudson Avenue and Fourth Street. They also guide disabled veterans to find resources such as a veteran service officer who will help with benefits claims for their disability and education.  

Pueblo County designated Posada with the Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) title almost 30 years ago. Through this designation, the organization was able to create strategic housing development plans to address housing needs in the Pueblo community. According to posadapueblo.org, since 1997, Posada has completed 117 new construction and rehabilitation projects. Posada is unique because it has two housing programs, Rapid Re-Housing, and Permanent Housing.

Rapid Re-Housing addresses homeless families, homeless veterans or homeless  individuals in need of adequate time to get established. Residents have three months to get their feet on the ground and must show proof of engaging employment to qualify. Posada will assist with rent, medical, food and transportation expenses for up to a year. There will be a case manager who will monitor the families or individuals along their journey to independence. 

The Permanent Housing program focuses more on getting and stabilizing housing for the homeless community of Pueblo. This program aims to sustain affordable housing for the low-income and homeless populations. This program is more for families with children; in some instances, families were able to purchase their own homes.

For the youths of the Pueblo community, Posada has a service where homeless individuals from the age of 18-24 can get assistance. 

None of this critical work would be possible without a dedicated team that works for others’ benefits.  

“We all wear many hats and we all work many hours each day, sometimes the work can be selfless and thankless.”
Katie Schilling, Posada leasing and property manager 

 

The women of Posada 

“We are a staff of 11 women and we are small-but-mighty,” Katie Schilling, Posada’s leasing and property manager told “T-Wolf Talk” host Cidonia Ponce. “We all wear many hats and we all work many hours each day, sometimes the work can be selfless and thankless.” 

In the quiet halls of Posada is a team of 11 women. Their positions in Posada are crucial to making the organization grow. With hard work and dedication, this self-described “dream team,” from executive director to case manager, models what care and understanding is needed to help the homeless population.      

 When there was no emergency shelter for the homeless population during COVID-19, they strategized a plan to shelter the COVID positive patients until they could not spread the virus.

The captain of the team is Executive Director Kim Bowman. She started at Posada as a volunteer in October 1991 and worked her way up as a staffer. In 2018 she stepped into what she called the “world’s largest shoes” when she accepted the leadership role. Bowman is the glue that holds the organization together. Her goal is to work on long-term housing for families, veterans, and individuals. 

LaTanya Yarbrough is the supportive services and Elko case manager for the Elko Family Emergency Shelter. Yarbrough works closely with individuals during intake and program management for the shelter. She also works with homeless veterans, to make sure that they apply for necessary benefits for housing, depending on their dependence status. 

Yarborough also coordinates the annual Homeless Memorial, the community picnic which happens every year at the end of June for the homeless community to enjoy a July Fourth BBQ. Posada joins other organizations such as VFW and American Legion for the Homeless Veterans Stand-Down, an event that goes on every year to help homeless veterans with winter clothes and toiletries, among others. 

This self-proclaimed “dream team” has a few CSU Pueblo alumni. Gold graduated in August 2014 with a bachelor’s in social work and also interned with Posada. When she started her internship, she was also homeless. Knowing first-hand the homeless crisis in the Pueblo community, she made it a personal mission to dictate her service to helping the homeless community. She administers the Rapid Housing and Permanent Supportive housing programs. These programs help the homeless learn valuable tools for renting a home being independent while maintaining the home. 

Gold currently represents Posada and Pueblo as members of the Balance of State Continuum of Care Governing Board, which was established in 2000 in order to assist rural communities in applying for Continuum of Care funding from the U.S. government. 

Gold and Katie Schilling were invited to speak with members of the CSU media team about Women’s History Month and the work they did in Posada. 

Schilling is a mass communications graduate at CSU Pueblo. After college, she moved to Denver and quickly came back to her native home of Pueblo when she heard Posada had an opening for a leasing and property manager. She interacts with the tenants in the Posada programs. As a Pueblo native, Schilling understands the homeless crisis within the Pueblo community. 

Working with the youth is Charlotte Bieber. She is originally from South Africa and moved to the Pueblo community in 2002. As the grant manager and the youth program director, she uses her knowledge to help the Pueblo youth get out of the streets and teach them skills to become independent. She worked for nonprofits such as Nature and Raptor Center of Pueblo, the Pueblo City-County Library District and the Sierra Club – Sangre de Cristo Group. 

Laura McGowan is the self-proclaimed accountant of the team, even though she does much more to make the organization function. McGowan joined the team in February 2015 to oversee the financial aspect of the organization. Another CSU Pueblo alumni, she brings 20 years of accounting experience and makes sure Posada sticks to the laws and regulations when it comes to funding.

 “ It is the whole team that keeps the big machine of Posada moving,” Schilling said.

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