Aurora lawmakers give unanimous OK to Bridge House homeless work program near Nine-Mile Station

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AURORA | Ready to Work, a homeless service provider that emphasizes work force training finally has a place in Aurora.

Aurora City Council unanimously voted Monday night to grant a congregate living facility permit to Boulder-based Bridge House, the non-profit organization that was prevented last year from replicating its Ready to Work program at a defunct bingo hall in northeast Aurora.

The new location, 3176 S. Peoria Court, adjacent to RTDs Nine Mile train station, could house up to 50 program participants, which accepts men and women facing homelessness.

“Our model is housing-based solution, and it is a workforce-based solution. We put people to work. They’re paid employees. They’re paying taxes like you and me,” Bridge House Executive Director Isabel McDevitt previously told the Aurora Sentinel. “This is not a drop-in facility. This is not a shelter. This is not a halfway house. These people may or may not have a history with the criminal justice system.”

Councilman Charlie Richardson and Mayor Steve Hogan along with a dozen community members praised McDevitt and the Ready to Work program. Nobody spoke against the council item.

Trainees are employed for up to 29 hours per week for nine months, and typically learn skills for landscaping and food service industries. They also receive counseling and are required to stay clean during their stay.

Last year, city lawmakers were faced with Bridge House’s interest in a facility on East Colfax Avenue, but amidst outcry from neighbors in the area, the council decided on an amended ordinance that prevents congregate living facilities from operating within 300 feet of a school. That forced Bride House to look elsewhere in the city.

The new location, a 22,000-square-foot office building near Nine Mile light rail station, will be transformed into dormitories for program participants. A kitchen and showers will be added, too.