CBS/4 – Denver  – A coalition of Colorado organizations launched an educational campaign on Thursday called “Close To Home” and at the same time the History Colorado Center is opening a new exhibit focused on homelessness in Colorado.

“We are sort of the keeper of Colorado history,” said Bob Musgraves, the co-CEO of History Colorado Center.

The History Colorado Center is opening a new exhibit calledSearching for Home: Homelessness in Colorado History. It traces homelessness in Colorado back to the days of the gold and and silver rushes. A time when people came here in search of fortune and there weren’t enough beds for them.

“It’s a story that goes back in history as far as Colorado goes,” Musgraves explained.

(credit: CBS)

The story tracks through the depression, right up to the signs held by the homeless of today. The exhibit asks tough questions and gives insightful answers. It looks at the issue through the eyes of children, the fastest growing population experiencing homelessness now. The goal of the entire exhibit is to bring new awareness to an age-old problem.

“It’s designed to sort of familiarize people with the fact that lots of people become homeless and it can happen to anyone,” Musgraves told CBS4.

It happened to Blair Griffith. While she wore the crown of Miss Colorado in 2011, she had nowhere to call home.

CBSDENVER.COM SECTION: A Place To Call Home

“Sometimes seeing a homeless individual on the street is the greatest way for God to tap our consciousness  and to remind us that there is still work to be done,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, during a news conference to announce a new education initiative around homelessness.

Close To Home is an effort to raise awareness about homelessness in Metro Denver. A survey done this year by the Denver Foundation shows that 43 percent of people know someone who’s homeless. It’s only by acting together that we can erase homelessness from our history.

Mayor Michael Hancock speaks at a news conference to launch Close To Home. (Credit CBS)

“If more people understand homelessness then more people will be willing to do something about it,” said David Miller, the President &CEO of the Denver Foundation.

Part of the Close To Home effort includes encouraging people to take a pledge to learn more about homelessness. You can also hear real stories and get the facts about homelessness in the Denver Metro Area by going to closetohomeco.org.

LINK: Take The Pledge 

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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