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Monthly Archive for: ‘October, 2016’

Homeless Gear, Murphy Center Mourn Loss of Long-Time Guest and Friend

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Homeless Gear and the Murphy Center Mourn Loss of George, a Long-Time Guest of the Murphy Center and Friend to the Organization—George Escaped Homelessness Earlier this Year

Fort Collins, Colorado, October 15, 2016

Homeless Gear today mourns the loss of George, a long-time guest of the Murphy Center, who died abruptly this week, just months after he had escaped homelessness. Homeless Gear released the following statement:

Almost every morning this year, just as the Murphy Center opened, a man — homeless and struggling with addiction — strode into the building. He sported a colorful fanny pack and a white beard that (as is often the case for the people we serve) belied his actual, relatively-youthful age.

That man died last weekend — no longer homeless, no longer using drugs — quietly in his apartment. It was an abrupt, heartbreaking and undeserved end for a man who had worked hard to turn his life around; but it was also an end with dignity, and a testament to his tireless efforts and the people who helped him along the way.

Today, we pay homage to the man and say thanks to the people who brought joy to his life.

Homelessness is a complex issue that elicits passionate and sometimes-competing responses. The man who passed away encapsulated many of those complexities.

But he also encapsulated a simpler, far-more uplifting truth: there is always a path forward — always an opportunity for a brighter future. This man emerged from the darkness, surrounded himself with people who cared and, ultimately, built a life that brought him happiness.

So to the many agencies who helped him move forward and find a home; to the many people experiencing homelessness who gave him friendship, hope and support; and to the countless others with whom he crossed paths: we say thank you.

Rest in Peace. We wish the journey could have lasted longer.

Bike Program Thriving with Record 53 Repairs in September

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Homeless Gear’s Bike Program Records Record 53 Repairs in September—Volunteer-Run Program Provides Transportation Lifeline to Guests of the Murphy Center

Fort Collins, Colorado, October 5, 2016

Homeless Gear’s bike-repair program, launched at the start of the year by a long-time volunteer and organized around a weekly-repair clinic at the Murphy Center, has thrived in its first nine months, recording 182 repairs and a record 53 repairs in September.

Mark Brewer, a Homeless Gear volunteer, started the program in January after he noticed that many Murphy Center guests—and many people experiencing homelessness, more generally—rely on often-unreliable bicycles for transportation. Those guests, he observed, struggled to make it to doctors’ appointments, job interviews and elsewhere due to tire blowouts, faulty chains and other fixable bike problems.

The program was featured in the Colorado this week: http://www.coloradoan.com/story/news/2016/10/04/bike-repair-program-gives-wheels-foco-homeless/91486880/

Since Mark launched the program at the start of the year, several volunteers have joined the bike-mechanic team. Bike Fort Collins, the Fort Collins Bike Coop, Recycled Cycles and others have contributed to the program via donations of cash or bike parts.

ABOUT THE BIKE PROGRAM

Homeless Gear’s Bike program hosts a free bike-repair clinic every Friday, 3 PM to 5 PM, at the Murphy Center (242 Conifer Street in Fort Collins). The service is available to any registered guests of the Murphy Center. The bike-repair team also hosts repair clinics at off-site locations; the team expects to expand its outreach in 2016 and 2017.

For more information or to get involved, visit www.HomelessGear.org/Bike.

Homeless Gear Introduces New Hand Up Program Manager

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Homeless Gear Announces Rachel Kirkland as New Hand Up Program Manager—Rachel Accepts New Position after One Year on Murphy Center Staff

Fort Collins, Colorado, October 1, 2016

Homeless Gear is pleased to introduce Rachel Kirkland, formerly an Intake Specialist at the Murphy Center (managed by Homeless Gear), as the new Manager of the Hand Up program. Rachel replaces Colter Schutte, a former Homeless Gear intern and staff member who departed for an overseas job opportunity.

Rachel joined the Murphy Center staff earlier this year and has, since then, served as an Intake Specialist, performing intakes with new guests and organizing referrals to other on-site agencies. She began training for the Hand Up position in September.

“We are thrilled to have Rachel in this new role,” said Linda Nuss, Homeless Gear’s Program Director (and former Hand Up Program Manager). “I could not imagine a smoother transition—Rachel has built a strong rapport with the staff, other agencies and hundreds of Murphy Center guests, and we are confident that she will blossom in this new role.”

ABOUT HAND UP

Homeless Gear’s Hand Up program empowers job-seekers who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless to find and maintain employment. The program was launched in 2008 by Sister Mary Alice Murphy, a longtime advocate for people who are homeless, and Andy Troccoli, an employee of New Belgium Brewing Company. The program operated as an independent nonprofit until it merged with Homeless Gear in late 2012.

For more information, visit www.HomelessGear.org/Hand-Up.