17th Judicial DA

Adams County's First Shelter for Displaced and Unhoused Youth Set for Ribbon Cutting Following Months of Planning and Preparation

January 17, 2024

Brighton, CO  — Following months of planning, hiring, and preparation, Community Reach Center is set to host a Ribbon Cutting for The Empowerment Center for Adolescents on Monday, January 22, 2024, at 8801 Lipan Street in Thornton. CRC has been working for months to open Adams County's first shelter for youth in crisis following approval by the Thornton City Council in August of 2023. 

CRC, District Attorney Brian Mason, Thornton Police, Adams County Commissioners, Thornton City Council, and others will host an official ribbon cutting for the press to attend on January 22, 2024. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP to Chris Hopper, the Director of Communications for the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office, at chopper@da17.state.co.us. 

Community Reach Center, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason, Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon, the Adams County Commissioners, Thornton City Council

Ribbon Cutting for The Empowerment Center for Adolescents

9:30am on Monday, January 22, 2024

The Empowerment Center for Adolescents
8801 Lipan Street, Thornton, CO

More information about the Center: The Empowerment Center for Adolescents

Brighton, CO 
—Today, District Attorney Brian Mason, Community Reach Center, and Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon are pleased to announce that a youth shelter will be opening in Adams County later this year. After 18 months of work to secure funding and an available location, the Thornton City Council recently approved the re-zoning of an existing building that will allow for the rapid development of a shelter for youth in crisis. 

On Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the Thornton City Council unanimously approved the re-zoning of a property at Lipan Street and West 88th Avenue that will now become a shelter for displaced youth. The shelter will be managed by Community Reach Center, a behavioral health services organization that has supported more than 22,000 children, adults, and seniors throughout the last 66 years in Adams County. 

The shelter will be available to youth ages 12-18 who are experiencing homelessness, displacement from their family home, and are in need of behavioral health services and other resources. The end goal of this shelter is for the youth to secure permanent housing and, if possible, reunification with their families or guardians following their temporary stay. Youth can become displaced or estranged from a guardian for a variety of reasons including substance abuse issues, mental health challenges, high family conflict, or LGBTQ concerns. Currently, Adams County does not have
a youth shelter to assist youth in crisis. This youth shelter will house young people experiencing homelessness or displacement, not juveniles who have been charged with crimes or who are being placed in a juvenile detention facility. 

This process began in 2021 when Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon approached District Attorney
Brian Mason regarding the need for a youth shelter in Adams County. The District Attorney's Office then engaged in conversations with Community Reach Center about opening a shelter on its vacant lot in Thornton. In 2022, the District Attorney's Office proposed the idea of a youth shelter bill to State Representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet who ultimately sponsored a piece of legislation with former State Senator Dominick Moreno. The bill, which allowed for the funding of shelter options for displaced youth in judicial districts throughout Colorado, was passed and signed into law on June 7, 2022. The bill also requires all Colorado communities to develop a comprehensive plan to address the needs of displaced youth in their communities, a need that has often not been met. The Adams County Empowerment Center for Adolescents is one of the first efforts in Colorado to meet the bill’s requirements, and the hope is it can be a model for other shelters specifically focused on the needs of young people.

Following the passage of this law, the District Attorney's Office applied for American Recovery Act grant funding through a program created by the Adams County Board of Commissioners
and secured $1.2 million to fund one year of a youth shelter. On August 22, 2023, the Thornton City Council approved the proposal for Community Reach Center to operate the shelter within city limits on its lot at Lipan Street and West 88th Avenue. The shelter could be up and running in as little as three months from now. 


"Youth experiencing homelessness or displacement are more likely to become victims of crime or to commit crimes
themselvesWe desperately need a youth shelter for displaced youth in this community and now we’re going to have one. This is a decision rooted in public safety and crime prevention and I’m very grateful to everyone who helped make it happenI am particularly proud of the work of my staff and our partners, Community Reach Center and Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon, and I am thankful to Adams County for the grant to get this program up and running and to the Thornton City Council for their critical partnership in approving a location for the shelter."
--District Attorney Brian Mason

"The Thornton Police Department would like to thank the 17th Judicial District Attorney's Office and the Community Reach Center for establishing a safe place for juveniles who need shelter and services to get them and their families back together and back on track. 'Necessary and critical, but non-existent' is too often the case when it comes to essential services for kids and families, but instead of talking about what needs to be done, the partners in Adams County and the 17th are getting it done one step at a time."
--Thornton Police Chief Terrence Gordon

"Community Reach Center is excited to be partnering with the DA's Office to provide this level of care and services for Adams County."
--Community Reach Center Leadership

"I very much appreciate the effort to create this space that is much needed in our community and the thought and the data that was used to stand up something that can be successful instead of just a shelter to create a safe space to address the need of our youth experiencing this crisis is more than just a band-aid."
--Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann

"As a youth who would have probably utilized this type of facility, it is something. We do not have resources for kids in need anywhere, and when they do have that need and there's nowhere to go it usually turns into something worse."
--Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Sandgren, Thornton Ward 2

"We all know, we're in the same meetings, we're getting the same data, we're hearing the same information, there is a huge need. There is nothing like this in our entire county for youth. It's our most vulnerable age group. Most of these individuals who come are at no fault of their own. They could be escaping abuse, they could be escaping violence, and I am very very proud that we are able to offer this service now in the Ward that I represent."
--Council Member Eric Garcia, Thornton Ward 1

"We all know the need is great to help our youth and our human services department, and I am confident that this is the right thing to help the youth in our community not only in Thornton but across Adams County. We have an opportunity to be part of the solution here, and I am proud to support this ordinance and this shelter for our unhoused youth to help them get back with their families and onto a better future."
--Council Member Kathy Henson, Thornton Ward 1

"It's a service that is greatly needed in our community and in our county, and I am so grateful that the different entities have come together to create this solution. I am so glad that we are going to have this for our youth to help when they are in a difficult time and help get them out of their circumstances and back on the right track." 
--Council Member Julia Marvin, Thornton Ward 2

"Drawing from my experience as a police officer, I recognize the pressing need for a facility like this. Thornton has commendably stepped up to support our community's youth during challenging times. I applaud all the different government agencies for working together so effectively."
--Council Member David Acunto, Thornton Ward 3

"The combination of a need for youth counseling, an available facility, grant funding and an experienced management company makes this an ideal opportunity. It was very gratifying voting in favor of the proposed youth treatment facility to be located in Thornton. "

--Council Member Tony Unrein, Thornton Ward 3

"I really hope this is only the beginning. Adams County is a desert for these services, and we have to secure more services for our community members."
--Council Member Karen Bigelow, Thornton Ward 4

Anyone seeking more information is asked to contact Chris Hopper, Communications Director for the District Attorney's Office, at chopper@da17.state.co.us or (303) 835-5639

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District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.

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