Homeless Gear Co-Hosts First-Ever Children in Need Service Event at Poudre High School

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Homeless Gear Brings Children in Need Program to Local High School, Co-Hosts Service Event at Poudre High School

Fort Collins, Colorado, January 31, 2016:

Homeless Gear co-hosted a Children in Need service event at Poudre High School yesterday, distributing supplies to and connecting 53 families—including 146 children—with eye exams, health screenings and other services. The event was the first-of-its kind, and was held in partnership with representatives from Poudre High School and elsewhere in the Poudre School District (PSD).

Homeless Gear and the Matthews House host service events for children and families once per quarter at the Matthews House Community Life Center, but those events are tailored to elementary-aged children and are, therefore, sparsely-attended by teenaged children and their families.

Homeless Gear opted to co-host the event at Poudre High School in response to a needs assessment and requests from Poudre School District officials.

“Homeless Gear is always working to identify gaps in the community, and in this case, the gap was clear,” said David Rout, Homeless Gear’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to Poudre High School for working with us to help fill that gap.”

Among the 53 families who attended the event, 36 did not attend a Children in Need service event at the Matthews House Community Life Center in 2015, suggesting that the event did, in fact, reach and serve a new audience.

ABOUT CHILDREN IN NEED

The Children in Need program infuses a sense of normalcy, self-worth and optimism into the lives of children who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. Homeless Gear launched the program in 2009 after several PSD employees reported a significant need for supplies and other services among local families facing homelessness.

Today, the program revolves largely around quarterly service events for children and families. Homeless Gear distributes supplies and other agencies/programs attend to provide a wide range of services: haircuts, health screenings, service referrals and more. The program has served more than 1,000 families since inception.

Visit www.HomelessGear.org/children-in-need to learn more.

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!  

Homeless Gear Expands One Village One Family Program with New Hire

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After Successful Pilot Year, Homeless Gear Expands One Village One Family Program, Hires New Employee to Manage Program

Fort Collins, Colorado, January 1, 2016:

Homeless Gear is pleased to announce that, effective immediately, it has hired Kortney Campbell—a former Homeless Gear intern and recent social-work graduate of Colorado State University—to manage its One Village One Family (OVOF) program.

Homeless Gear launched OVOF at the start of 2015 with a mission to help families escape homelessness and maintain housing. Through OVOF, Homeless Gear pairs volunteer teams, or villages, with families experiencing homelessness; those villages raise funds to help their assigned families get into housing, and then provide six months of structured, ongoing support to help those families stay in housing.

In its first year, the program helped 10 families, including 28 children, escape homelessness. All are still housed.

OVOF operated on an entirely-volunteer basis in 2015. With Kortney—a professional social worker—on board, Homeless Gear expects to provide more robust case management to families in the program, recruit more volunteers to participate and entrench the program as a fixture in the community of social services.

ABOUT ONE VILLAGE ONE FAMILY

OVOF is one of a small number of rapid rehousing programs in Fort Collins. It was modeled after a similar program in Denver, One Congregation One Family, that was launched out of then-Mayor John Hickenlooper’s office in 2016. Statewide, the program’s offshoots have helped more than 1,000 families escape homelessness.

For more information on the program, visit www.HomelessGear.org/OVOF.

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!

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