Denver’s Warren Village helps single parents with affordable housing, child care

When Ana Blair and her children moved into Denver’s Warren Village in 2020, they only owned an air mattress and a television.

Blair, 33, was looking to “get back on her feet” after separating from the children’s father, but she didn’t have a college degree. The employees at Warren Village, which provides affordable housing and other services to single parents and their children, were there to help.

“I didn’t really have anything for myself,” she said, adding, “I didn’t know how I was going to make it and they truly helped with toiletries or whatever you need.”

Now, two years later, Blair has graduated from Pima Medical Institute’s veterinary assistant program and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health administration.

The education, Blair said, will let her do something she has wanted to do since she was a child: work with animals. And by continuing her education, she hopes to get a job that could pay enough so that maybe someday she could buy a home.

Warren Village was founded in 1974 to help single parents in poverty and homelessness become self-sufficient. The organization provides housing, which costs either $25 per month or 30% of a person’s income per month to rent, depending on whether a person has a job.

Warren Village also provides other services, including financial education and mental health services. It also assists parents in pursuing a college education or workforce training to help increase their incomes, said Ethan Hemming, chief executive officer of Warren Village.

The waitlist for Warren Village has increased since the pandemic began, with people waiting longer for services and needing more help. For example, once someone gets housing, they might still need help from the organization’s diaper bank or small food pantry, Hemming said.

“It’s hard to survive right now with the cost of food going up, rent, utilities,” he said.

Warren Village not only encouraged Blair to go to school full time but also provided child care to make it possible. The organization has a learning center for children ages 5 and younger and provides after-school care for older kids. so there’s someone to watch Blair’s children when she has a late class.

“As a single mom, that’s what you’re really worried about: How are you going to manage school as well as being a single mom?” Blair said, adding, “They are so patient and they work with you and they figure it out with you. They know we’re coming from very stressful situations or situations where we’re just not happy.”

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