CrossPurpose, a nonprofit that helps people follow productive career paths, just opened a location in Englewood and plans to add additional locations in Aurora and north Denver.
CrossPurpose got its start in 2008 when co-founder Jason Janz and others recognized the need for programming that would help lift people out of poverty – and perhaps even avoid it altogether. Today, CrossPurpose offers free professional training in more than fifteen medical, culinary, business, peer specialist, and administrative streams. It has seen 616 graduates so far and hopes to increase that number to 2,025 by the end of 2025.
In 2020, CrossPurpose finalized a plan to expand from its original location at 3050 Richard Allen Court to three more. The organization has partnered with nearby Wellspring Church, which has purchased a building at 3855 South Broadway in Englewood which it leases to CrossPurpose free of charge for ten years. The new location was inaugurated on September 15.
“Today is a celebration of a community coming together, solving their own problems,” Janz said at the inauguration.
The City of Englewood donated approximately $350,000 for the renovation. “When I joined the city council in 2019, we talked a lot about homelessness and poverty and the programs we could put in place,” said Joe Anderson, Englewood City Council’s representative for the area. . “How can the government better get involved in serving our city’s communities?”
In October 2020, the University of Denver released the Tri-Cities Chronic Homelessness Assessments Results Report, which provided insight into the causes of homelessness and its implications for Englewood, Littleton, and Sheridan. Of the 121 people assessed, 51% said they had become homeless due to job loss and other major factors, including the inability to pay rent and a change in employment status. The cities came together and adopted the tri-city action plan for homelessness.
Englewood saw CrossPurpose as a good choice because it offers resources that not only help people get mid-level jobs, but also training in resolving workplace conflict so they can keep those jobs. . “One of the things the plan also identified is poverty reduction to prevent homelessness, so that fits right in with this action plan,” Anderson said.
With the new facility added to its original location, CrossPurpose is expected to be able to accommodate over 400 students per year. The new class will graduate in March 2023.
Twenty-year-old Janessa Abeyta is part of the class. She worked at places like McDonald’s and King Soopers and had to drop out of Community College in Denver because it was too expensive. “I was like, I’m not going anywhere with these jobs,” she recalled. In August, she started CrossPurpose’s physician assistant program.
Eighteen-year-old Trent Arnold hoped to open a plumbing business, but Red Rocks Community College dropped its only plumbing course due to low enrollment. Then he discovered that CrossPurpose not only had a free plumbing program, but worked with businesses in the community to support students after graduation. “They cater to a lot of people; my coach would tell me that you have a few companies that want to work with you and you choose the company,” says Arnold. “You choose the one that will benefit you the most.”
CrossPurpose is really helping to address the issues of homelessness and poverty that Englewood has been trying to address for some time, says Anderson: “When I heard that CrossPurpose was considering coming to this area, I just saw a hole who was going to be filled in. These are people who really know and love the community here.