About Rural Outreach
We believe that security and opportunity should be available to all regardless of their circumstances. Rural Outreach provides basic assistance and education of local resources to those who have chosen to live on the outer edges of San Luis Valley society.
Thousands of acres throughout the desolate foothills of the San Luis Valley (a geographic area referred to as the “flats”) have been sub-divided into small parcels by opportunistic land developers, then sold, often sight unseen. This lure of inexpensive land has brought a wave of settlers who wish to jump-start their lives anew, often spending out their savings in exchange for the pride of land ownership but then find themselves unprepared for sub-zero winters and county zoning requirements. There are an estimated 250 provisional homes located throughout the flats with many residents living miles away from the nearest town, store, gas station, or neighbor. Most of these homes have no running water or electricity. Occupants own their land and do their best to prepare for hardship, but geographic isolation and the region’s severe elements can quickly lead to insurmountable obstacles. Many leave after their attempt to survive falters, others make do with the severity, and still more find themselves trapped in crises, with little to no resources or knowledge of how to get help. Maintaining a safety net for residents to fall back on during hard times is of vital importance and the reason we need Rural Outreach.
While respecting the choice homesteaders have made in the establishment of their lifestyle on the flats, La Puente’s Rural Outreach case manager values their health, stability, and general well-being. The case manager works to provide basic needs assistance, educate each household to know how and where they can seek assistance, and connects them to the services offered by La Puente or other service providers. Depending on their living situation and unique needs, Rural Outreach offers food, firewood, propane, trash service, referrals for medical assistance, and support as needed.
Rural Outreach depends heavily on wood donations. Often families do not have an adequate stock-pile to make it through the San Luis Valley’s harsh winters. Summer months bring cool evening temperatures as well; firewood is often needed after dark to warm many of the uninsulated structures. As a result, each year La Puente’s rural case manager gives out 90 tons of firewood for families to heat their homes.
If you would like to donate wood, volunteer your time in our wood lot to buck and split wood, or learn more about Rural Outreach volunteer opportunities, please contact La Puente’s Volunteer Coordination office at 719-587-3499.