Looking Back on 2015

Check out our Year-in-Review here: https://t.co/q91TLT06LS

Happy 2016! 

On behalf of all of us at Homeless Gear, thank you for all that you did to make 2015 a banner year. Thanks to your support, 28 children are no longer homeless (One Village One Family), our participants secured 125 jobs (Hand Up), individuals and families submitted over 460 benefits applications (Dedicated Navigator), outreach volunteers recorded 6,500 transactions with over 1,000 unduplicated individuals (Street Outreach), about 1,000 children received supplies and accessed other services (Children in Need), and an untold thousands of individuals received supplies that helped them survive and/or weather the elements (Distribution)… and, most recently, thanks to your support — and alongside an amazing collaborative of community agencies — we became the Managing Partner of the Murphy Center for Hope.

It’s a refrain you will hear from us all of the time… but it’s so much more than a cliche. It is the absolute truth: nothing we do would be possible without all of you — the thousands of individuals who devote their time, talent and treasure to Homeless Gear and the people we serve. 

I checked this number twice, and I still don’t believe it: Homeless Gear volunteers contributed over 11,000 volunteer hours in 2015. Another way to put that: volunteers contributed more hours in 2015 than there were hours in the year. That is why we are, literally, equipped to provide services to the people who need them most… whenever they need them and wherever they need them.  

Thank you to everyone. To our staff, Board of Directors, volunteers, donors, business partners, community/city partners and the people we serve: we look forward to working alongside all of you in 2016. 

Sincerely, 

David Rout, Executive Director

Homeless Gear Raises $36,000 in December Fundraiser

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Homeless Gear Raises $36,000 in Fourth-Annual “Virtual” Fundraiser

Fort Collins, Colorado, January 1, 2016: Homeless Gear raised $36,099 from 136 individuals in December 2015, exceeding (for the fourth year in a row!) our $30,000, 30k in 31 days, monthly goal. That total included more than $16,000 from 95 donors on Colorado Gives Day alone (more than double last year).

Thank you to everyone who contributed to Homeless Gear in 2015. Every penny counts!  

Alongside Broad Community Collaborative, Homeless Gear Assumes Role as Managing Partner of Murphy Center for Hope

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MURPHY CENTER OPERATIONS, OWNERSHIP TRANSITIONS TO GROUP OF COMMUNITY PARTNERS, Fort Collins, Colorado– December 4, 2015

The Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope (Murphy Center), a Larimer County resource center for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, reopened on December 7th, 2015 under a new, collaborative ownership-and-operational model.

Four organizations—Homeless Gear, Catholic Charities, Neighbor to Neighbor and SummitStone Health Partners—have formed a Partner Council to oversee operations and the direction of the facility, with Homeless Gear acting as Managing Partner. Murphy Center LLC has assumed the role of building owner, and Bohemian Foundation will provide support to the Murphy Center LLC for building costs. United Way of Larimer County and the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado will act in supporting roles, and Homeward 2020 will serve as the Murphy Center Stakeholder Council (providing guidance on the community’s homeless response system).

“The City of Fort Collins has been a long-time collaborator on homelessness issues, and based on this experience, we are confident that this coalition of nonprofits has the right experience, team and commitment to serve people who are homeless or near homeless at the Murphy Center,” said Deputy City Manager Jeff Mihelich.

The new coalition of community partners will maintain the Murphy Center as a space in which multiple agencies can collectively and collaboratively provide a continuum of services to individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. The agencies will work closely together to ensure that services are coordinated and delivered in accordance with best practices.

ABOUT THE SISTER MARY ALICE MURPHY CENTER FOR HOPE

Named in honor of Sister Mary Alice Murphy, a Larimer County pioneer of service to neighbors in need, the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope celebrates compassionate action and serves as a resource center for families and individuals who face homelessness. The Murphy Center opened in 2009 and has proven to be a model for community collaboration and an essential resource in Larimer County. More information is available at www.murphycenterforhope.org.

Homeless Gear Receives “Outstanding Nonprofit” Award from Governor’s Office

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Homeless Gear Receives “Outstanding Nonprofit” Award from Governor’s Office

Fort Collins, Colorado, September 4, 2015: Homeless Gear is proud and humbled to announce that it has received the 2015 “Outstanding Nonprofit” award from the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. Volunteers of America’s Northern Colorado branch nominated Homeless Gear for the award, and a contingent of Volunteers of America and Homeless Gear representatives accepted the award at the State Capitol building last week.

“This award is a testament to many things, but none more so than the thousands of volunteers, donors, community members and other supporters who make everything that we do possible,” said David Rout, Executive Director of Homeless Gear. “Our work has just begun. We look forward to working alongside all of our community partners—including our great friends at Volunteers of America—for years to come.”

Ken John launched Homeless Gear in 2008 with a simple mission: to collect and distribute outdoor gear to people experiencing homelessness. That vision remains intact, but around it has grown a family of programs that provides people who are homeless with a continuum of services: supplies that help them survive in the short-term, connections to resources in the interim and links to employment, housing and self-sufficiency in the long-term.

For more information on Homeless Gear and its family of programs, visit www.HomelessGear.org. For more information on the award (including pictures from the awards ceremony), visit the Facebook page of Serve Colorado, the organization that oversees the awards process: https://www.facebook.com/ServeColorado/.

Dedicated Navigator Program Joins Homeless Gear’s Family of Programs

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Dedicated Navigator Program Joins Homeless Gear’s Family of Programs – Program Helps Homeless and Low-Income Individuals, Families Apply for Benefits

Fort Collins, Colorado, May 18, 2015: Homeless Gear is pleased to announce that the Dedicated Navigator program—a locally-run and volunteer-driven program that helps homeless and low-income individuals and families apply for benefits—has joined its family of programs.

The program, launched by Sister Mary Alice Murphy and Anne Wilberton in 2011, joins a family of Homeless Gear programs (six, with the addition) that provides homeless men, women and children with a continuum of services: supplies that help them survive in the short-term, connections to resources in the interim and links to employment, housing and self-sufficiency in the long-term.

“Finally, our program has a home with Homeless Gear,” said Sister Mary Alice Murphy.

The Dedicated Navigator program was founded in recognition of the fact that benefits applications (Food Assistance, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, etc.) are complex, time-consuming and often-frustrating. Untold numbers of our most vulnerable citizens miss out on benefits—those for which they are eligible—simply because they lack the awareness, technical skills and/or ability to complete the paperwork.

“This is a much-needed, one-of-its-kind program with a track record of success,” said David Rout, Executive Director of Homeless Gear. “And, much like everything that we do, it is volunteer-driven. None of it would be possible without the profound dedication of Anne and Sister Mary Alice and their incredible team of volunteers.”

In 2011, the Dedicated Navigator program helped clients complete 201 applications in order to apply for approximately $450,000 in benefits; those numbers increased steadily over the subsequent years, reaching 400 applications and more than $1 million in benefits in 2014. The program has operated out of the Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope since its inception; in recent months, it has branched out to new locations (Holy Family Church, e.g.). More locations and times will be available in future months.

If you would like to receive help from or volunteer with the program, please email Anne Wilberton at Anne@HomelessGear.org. Visit the Dedicated Navigators page of Homeless Gear’s website for more information (www.HomelessGear.org/dedicated-navigators).

Homeless Gear Earns Status as Realities for Children Affiliate Agency

Media Contacts:

David Rout, Executive Director
Phone: (970) 682-3193
Email: David@HomelessGear.org

Chelsey Mandell, Director of Community Outreach
Phone: (970) 587-3556
Email: Chelsey@HomelessGear.org

For Immediate Release:
Homeless Gear Earns Status as Realities for Children Affiliate Agency

Fort Collins, Colorado, March 11, 2015: Homeless Gear is proud to announce that–effective immediately and alongside 27 other local nonprofit organizations–we have been accepted as an Affiliate Youth Agency of Realities for Children. The distinction serves both as recognition of the growth in our Children in Need and One Village One Family programs and our commitment to collaboration and fiscal efficiency.

Realities for Children is a Colorado nonprofit that brings together local businesses, youth agencies and the broader community in an effort to provide a continuum of services to northern-Colorado children who have been abused, neglected or are at-risk. The consortium of agencies (28, including Homeless Gear) creates a collaborative environment wherein service providers can share resources, ideas, challenges and service goals.

This honor marks the continuation of our efforts to expand our services for children and families. Today, we are proud to operate two programs–Children in Need and One Village One Family–that serve vulnerable families in a variety of ways.

Through our Children in Need program, we provide homeless and near-homeless children with the items that they need—outerwear, clothing, hygiene supplies and more—to meet basic health and hygiene needs, protect themselves from the elements and actively participate in school. We host quarterly service events for through which (a) we distribute supplies and (b) other agencies join us to provide a wide range of additional services: haircuts, eye exams, health and dental screenings, children’s books, art supplies, etc. At our December event, we served 186 families and nearly 600 children. In 2015, we expect to serve more than 500 families.

Through our One Village One Family program, we match homeless families with trained mentor teams, or “villages.” Those mentor teams raise funds for and provide about six months of mentorship to each family; funds are directed toward first month rent and other emergency needs. Since we launched the program in late-2014, we have recruited, trained and qualified five villages, and expect to match at least 12 villages with families by the end of 2015.

Visit the Children in Need or One Village One Family pages of our website, www.HomelessGear.org, to find out more.

What’s New with Homeless Gear? Check out our February Newsletter!

Get the latest scoop on the Street Outreach, Hand Up and One Village One Family program, meet the interns and learn about our recent “Community Conversation on Homelessness.” All that and more here: http://conta.cc/1DZJ4OT

Third-Annual “Virtual” Fundraiser Earns More than $35,000

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Homeless Gear’s Third-Annual “Virtual” Fundraiser Earns More than $35,000

Fort Collins, Colorado, January 1, 2015: Homeless Gear is pleased to announce that our third-annual, December-long “virtual” fundraiser–30k in 31 Days–exceeded expectations, raising more than $35,000 during the month. That money will quickly translate into tangible support for our family of five programs and the men, women and children whom we serve.

Thank you to the 135 individuals who donated during the month of December, and thank you to everyone who supported Homeless Gear in 2014. Stay tuned for more news about what you helped us accomplish in 2014 and what we hope to accomplish in 2015!

Give Where You Live: Support Homeless Gear on Colorado Gives Day!

CO Gives Day Picture

For the fifth year in a row, Community First Foundation and FirstBank are coming together to present Colorado Gives Day 2014!  Coloradoans are encouraged to come together on Tuesday, December 9th, to “give where they live” and support their favorite causes online through ColoradoGives.org. Last year, your support helped us raised more than $7,000 (wow!) and-with the new, $1 Million Incentive Fund-we are hoping to do even better for 2014. Join us in this statewide movement as we raise funds to truly make a difference in our community.

$1 MILLION INCENTIVE FUND

For the first time ever, Colorado Gives Day is featuring a $1 Million Incentive Fund.  Every nonprofit that receives a donation through Colorado Gives Day will receive a portion of the Incentive Fund.  This means that-with your support-we can increase our funds simply with your participation.  For example, let’s say we raise 10 percent of the total donations made on Colorado Gives Day.  We then receive 10 percent of the $1 Million Incentive Fund.  Your gift to us on Colorado Gives Day increases in value with every dollar that you donate.

Visit our Colorado Gives Day page here to learn more about Colorado Gives Day and Homeless Gear.  You can even schedule your Colorado Gives Day donation in advance, starting TODAY!

We send our on-going thanks to you and your continuous support as we serve our homeless and near-homeless neighbors to help them survive and-ultimately-move toward self-sufficiency.  We are so thankful for your involvement and are excited to see what happens at ColoradoGives.org from today through December 9th, 2014!

Sincerely,

David Rout, Executive Director

Homeless Gear Launches “One Village One Family” Program

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Homeless Gear Launches “One Village One Family” Program to Serve Homeless Families in Fort Collins—Program Marks Extension of State-Sponsored “One Congregation One Family” Initiative

Fort Collins, Colorado, October 10, 2014: Homeless Gear is pleased to announce the launch of “One Village One Family” (OVOF), a program designed to help homeless families escape homelessness and regain self-sufficiency. The program—launched today—represents another step in Homeless Gear’s efforts to provide services that not only help homeless individuals survive and meet their basic needs, but also help them connect to resources, find housing and get back on their feet.

Ken John, Founder and former Executive Director of Homeless Gear, along with his wife, Nancy John, will co-coordinate the program on behalf of Homeless Gear.

“OVOF is a proven model that already has the support of dozens of community stakeholders: churches, agencies, volunteers and others,” said David Rout, Executive Director of Homeless Gear. “We are confident that Ken and Nancy will guide this project with the same enthusiasm and vision as Ken led Homeless Gear during his tenure as Executive Director.”

OVOF matches homeless families with trained mentor teams, and those mentor teams raise funds for and provide about six months of mentorship to each family; funds are directed toward first month rent and other emergency needs.

The program was launched in 2006 under its original name, One Congregation One Family (OCOF), by the Governor’s Office in Denver. It exceeded its goal to house over 1,000 families by mid-2014, with 87% of the families maintaining stable housing after the first year. Beginning in 2012, the program was introduced in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction. A successful pilot program was completed in Fort Collins in 2012. Statewide to date, 350 mentor groups have served more than 2,600 individuals.

In other communities, the mentor teams were recruited exclusively from churches. Homeless Gear elected to change the name to OVOF in recognition of the fact that any group of adults, including but not limited to faith-based groups, can form effective mentor teams, or “villages.”

Homeless Gear will serve as the lead agency for OVOF, but Homeward 2020 will serve in a support role and Faith Family Hospitality, The Family Center/La Familia and the Matthews House will refer families into the program.

If you represent a church, organization, company, civic group, club or other group that might want to form a mentor team—or if you want to learn more—please contact Ken, by email at Ken@HomelessGear.org or by phone at (970) 581-4921. Visit the OVOF page of Homeless Gear’s website (http://www.homelessgear.org/ovof) for more information!

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