Hand Up

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Employment is, for most, a prerequisite to escaping homelessness. And yet, for people who are homeless, the prospects for work are often dim: the individuals we serve compete for jobs in markets that are already saturated, and they do it in the context of complex barriers — survival, safety, stigma — that people who are housed simply do not face. It is nothing short of a tragedy: all too often, the population of people experiencing homelessness — a group that is rich with talent, ambition and potential — is deprived of the opportunity to contribute to our community.

 Hand Up empowers job seekers who are homeless or near-homeless to find and maintain employment.

Program History

In 2008, Andy Troccoli, then an employee of New Belgium Brewing Company, befriended — and ultimately hired — a man who was homeless. Before long, that man was steadily-employed and off the streets. The act inspired Sister Mary Alice Murphy, a local, long-time advocate for people experiencing homelessness. She and Andy joined forces to form Hand Up Cooperative, a nonprofit designed to connect job-seekers who were homeless with socially-conscious employers.  

Hand Up Cooperative grew up alongside Homeless Gear for four years. Then, in late-2012, in an effort to leverage combined resources and create a family of comprehensive programs, the Hand Up program shifted under the umbrella of Homeless Gear. 

Program Structure

254866_10150200056658075_1608787_nThe Hand Up program is a one-on-one, employment-focused case-management program that serves as the only employment program at the Murphy Center, a resource center for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Hand Up empowers individuals and families who are homeless or near-homeless to transition from (a) unemployed to employed, (b) stuck to unstuck and (c) homeless to self-sufficient. More specifically, we support participants in a variety of ways:

  • Case Management 
    • Goal setting, mentoring, removing barriers, resource connections, etc.
  • Job-Search Training 
  • Resume Building
  • Connections to Employers
  • Interview Preparations
  • Career “Gear” Closet
  • Colorado ID, Driver’s License & Birth Certificate Vouchers
  • Transportation Assistance
  • Customized Support for Individual Circumstances

How Do I Get Help?

Are you homeless or at-risk of homelessness and looking for work? We are here to help, and all of our services are free-of-charge.

  • Where: Murphy Center for Hope, 242 Conifer Street, Fort Collins, CO 80524
  • When: By appointment only, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM with walk-in hours on Monday and Tuesday, 1 PM to 3 PM
  • How: Contact Rachel, Hand Up Program Manager, by email at Rachel@HomelessGear.org or by phone at (970) 494-9702 to schedule an appointment

How Can I Help?

  1. Join our Career Closet team (help us shop for and/or solicit donations)
  2. Become a Hand Up business partner (hire/consider hiring our program participants; click here for more information on how to participate and a list of current business partners)

Documents and Resources

Contact Information