Community Resource Specialists at Denver Public Library
Denver Public Library has been employing social workers as Community Resource Specialists since 2015 to help people in the community connect to services. People experiencing homelessness, in particular, have been helped enormously by having experts available in a safe, familiar place. While the program has been great, there’s one problem. Sometimes, social workers aren’t the kinds of people we want to talk to. Sometimes we need the help of people who have been there, and that’s where the Colorado Mental Wellness Network comes in.
Thanks to a recent grant, we’ve been able to place Peer Navigators in Denver Public Library to work alongside these Community Resource Specialists. Unlike the social workers, these are people who have experienced homelessness themselves. They’re there to provide the mutual support, understanding, and guidance that only someone with lived experience can provide. They can inspire hope that recovery is possible while also directing people to resources to make it happen. In short, they’re peers. Not clinicians, but everyday people who understand.
Check out our recent feature on Next with Kyle Clark to see more!