(Aspen, CO) It’s not easy to find a warm room for a homeless person on short notice but thanks to two local hotel operators, the Aspen Skiing Company and the Housing Authority that kind of generosity occurs on a regular basis in the Aspen/Pitkin County community. Pitkin County Health and Human Services and non-profits funded by the county’s Healthy Community Fund took time out during a holiday celebration today to recognize “outside agencies” that regularly assist the community’s most vulnerable populations.
Longtime owner of the St. Moritz Lodge in Aspen and former Aspen City Council Member, Michael Behrendt, was recognized for always being “ready and willing” to house several homeless clients of the Pitkin County “Day Center” during cold spells when they had no place else to go for the night.
The same generosity was offered by the Mountain Chalet’s Craig Melville, Kai Ramsey of the City of Aspen’s Truscott Place, and by the Aspen Skiing Company’s Bill Tarallo. These landlords also routinely respond to the call of case managers from the Aspen Counseling Center, Aspen Homeless Shelter, and Valley Information and Assistance (VIA) to help with housing for people struggling with severe illnesses and transition in their lives.
“When the winter overnight shelter at the Catholic Church is not yet open and temperatures begin to drop, we sometimes must to reach out to the private sector for housing,” said Laura Drexel of the Aspen Homeless Shelter and VIA. “It can be a matter of life or death for some of our clients. Admittedly, some of them can be difficult cases when they’re dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues but these gentleman have helped us more than once,” Drexel said.
Other community members honored at the event today were Doctors Amy Cecil, O.D. and Kim Levin, M.D., M.P.H. who have contribute their services to the needy and work hand-in-hand with case managers to provide the best comprehensive care for individuals and families.