As the Rocky Mountain correspondent for a national newspaper, I have been covering Denver's amazingly popular mayor, John Hickenlooper, as a political phenomenon. I wrote recently that "Hick" has enjoyed "the longest political honeymoon in journalistic history."
If you keep track of Mayor Hickenlooper, you can't help but notice that he constantly talks --no, brags --about Denver's community-wide commitment to dealing with homelessness. He makes the point that our medium-sized city in flyover country has become a national force on this issue. He told me that the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and the Coalition's founder, John Parvensky, are admired from coast to coast for innovative leadership in this field.
When my friend Joe Ptacek went to work for the Coalition, I began to pay more attention. I was deeply impressed with the talent, energy, and generosity of the employees and volunteers at CCH. They put in long hours for modest pay, just because they want to help other people. They deal with struggle and frustration on a daily basis--just because they want to help. Their recognition that homeless people need more than just a roof over their heads has spawned the Coalition's ambitious and growing network of programs and services for our homeless neighbors.
When I was asked to join the board of CCH, I jumped at the chance. I love hanging out at CCH's spartan, funky offices downtown, with the bare floors and the narrow cubicles. It's thrilling, frankly, to talk to the smart, capable people there who have dedicated their skills and their energy to the daily task of helping other people who seriously need help. To me, The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is inspiring; I'm delighted that I get to be part of it.