Seasonal graffiti program helps individuals find stability in Adams County: “I was on the verge of losing my house and my family”
People in unstable situations are getting a second chance. In the last year, over 2,300 instances of graffiti have been cleaned in Adams County, thanks to a program that connects people with job opportunities.
Covering up graffiti was never in David Halburd’s life plan, but after moving to Colorado from Florida in 2016, he fell on hard times.
“I met my wife and started a family and then times got rough. We were like pinching pennies trying to pay rent,” Halburd said.
Soon, Halburd found himself homeless and unable to find work.
“I was on the verge of losing my house and my family,” Halburd said. “I was looking around, applying everywhere and nobody would just give me a chance.”
But in June of 2022, Halburd was connected with the county’s seasonal graffiti program that aims to hire people with a history of homelessness, mental health challenges or criminal justice involvement.
“Get somebody steady income, get them work skills and just try to build them up to where they can move on,” said Ryan Dodge, the Adams County code compliance officer, who runs the graffiti program.
It was just the opportunity Halburd needed.
“I came in, got the interview and started working and staying motivated and this is where I’m at today!” Halburd exclaimed.
Now, Halburd is a full-time code enforcement officer for Adams County, living with his wife and kids.
“I took ahold of the reins and just gave it my all,” Halburd said.
Including Halburd, the program hired four people in it’s first two years and all four went on to find a stable job and housing. This year, three people will take part.
“If one person at a time we can get out of a situation like that and get them full time employment, then it’s worth it,” Dodge said.
The program has been such a success, the county is expanding it to other jurisdictions.