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Alameda Dreams

Warren Village expands by placing community needs and community voices at the forefront of their work.

2024 is a big year for Warren Village. Not only does 2024 mark the 50th anniversary of the organization, 2024 will bring to fruition many years of hard work and dedication, as Warren Village expands into their new Alameda campus facility. The Alameda project, which broke ground in August of 2023 with a ceremony, should be completed by November 2024 and will allow the organization to grow from serving 500 individuals to 800 individuals, or 80% more families. Ethan Hemming, CEO at Warren Village, has been with the organization for more than seven years and has seen it grow to meet the community’s needs. “Since I first started here,” Hemming says, “we’ve been able to acquire a small facility in northwest Denver, we’ve increased our services to alumni, we’ve partnered with a private apartment complex in southeast Denver, and have overall been able to provide more services to more folks.”

As Warren Village has grown, so has their model for how to best serve their community. “In this global world, and also in America, there’s such divisiveness, but the one thing that I think unifies people is the concept of opportunity,” Hemming shares. “Everyone agrees that opportunity should be there for everybody.” And opportunity is what Warren Village provides. With the opening of the Alameda campus, families will be able to stay longer if they need to while their children are young, which means parents will better be able to take advantage of programs like financial counseling, life skills classes, Warren Village’s College to Career curriculum, and other wellness initiatives. Warren Village also places great importance on helping the kids of the families they’re housing and offers a pediatric clinic, developmental assessments and early intervention, a learning center to help get resident children kindergarten-ready, and day care for up to 11 hours a day. The goal is not just opportunities for this generation but the for the next one, and the one after that.

“Almost every day, I try to walk across the street, and go through the learning center to connect with staff and kids.” Hemming explains. “That’s the generation we’re benefiting the most in some ways, those are the lives that are really going to be changed by the work we’re doing.” Hemming has learned over the years that the best way to serve the community is to spend time with them to learn directly from them what they need. Most recently, this honest communication greatly influenced the design of the Alameda campus. Hemming continues, “We did interviews with residents and said, ‘What matters to you?’ And most said that the thing they wanted was a welcoming living room. We didn’t know what that meant right away, so the residents explained that the current entry spot in their units is tiny and crammed, and they want space. They wanted a foyer, a place to welcome someone into their home.” The conversation didn’t stop there; Hemming and his team learned the laundry units needed updating, and they learned their residents were struggling to get rent assistance from the city. And they were able to help. Warren Village came up with a cash distribution model for residents, which allowed them to get cash for rent and medical needs and food. “It wasn’t a huge ask, but they were clear about what they needed. It feels good to be heard.”

As Warren Village continues to expand (Hemming is already brainstorming a fourth campus), they plan to continue encouraging residents to speak up about their needs, desires, and dreams. “We are learning and trying to do better with resident engagement and resident centricity,” he says. “Each little change has made a small bit of progress, and as long as we keep trying to refine how we center resident voices, we’re going to have a place our families feel at home enough in that they’ll be able to save money for a home, create a safer and more stable future for their kids, or pursue more education.”