Many of the people we serve are without hope, disengaged from the community and no longer accessing services through the traditional agency system. When it comes to that segment of the population, the number and quality of available services almost does not matter… after all, if people do not even walk through the doors of the programs and agencies that exist to support them, then progress is not only difficult — it is impossible.
Street Outreach meets people where they are — literally and emotionally — to bridge the gap: to install a sense of hope in the people we serve, reconnect them to the community and provide them with the support that they need to survive, move forward and thrive.
In late 2011, Homeward 2020 — the steward of our community’s plan to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring — approached Homeless Gear with an issue: the community of service providers did not include an organization that engaged directly on the street with people experiencing homelessness. Studies had proven (and continued to prove) that street outreach programs are better-equipped, relative to programs with fixed locations, to connect to, engage with and build meaningful relationships with people who are homeless. In at least some cases, those relationships could be the cornerstone to meaningful, long-term progress.
After months of site visits and best-practice research, Homeless Gear launched its Street Outreach program on January 1, 2012. Since then, our all-volunteer teams have traveled onto the streets of Fort Collins three nights per week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday), without ever missing a shift. Today, the program is an important part of Homeless Gear’s family of programs, but also a key component of the multi-agency, collaborative, continuum of services for people experiencing homelessness in Fort Collins.
We send paired volunteers onto the streets of Fort Collins three nights per week — Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 7 PM to 10:15 PM — to engage directly with people who are homeless. Volunteers drive a cargo van, tagged with Homeless Gear’s logo for easy identification, searching for people experiencing homelessness throughout Fort Collins. We distribute supplies, share information, build relationships and, ultimately, connect people to other resources in the community. Each shift ends in front of the Catholic Charities shelter, 460 Linden Center Circle, at approximately 9:45 PM.
The van is stocked with food, drinks, outerwear, hygiene supplies, resource information and more. It is not, however, stocked with large camping equipment (tents, backpacks, etc.); those items are monitored more closely and reserved for our Gear Room at the Murphy Center.
Three nights per week, we send volunteers onto the streets of Fort Collins to engage directly with people experiencing homelessness. We distribute supplies, share resource information, build relationships and help connect people to other services in the community.
- Where: Assorted stops in downtown Fort Collins, including outside of First Presbyterian Church, 531 S. College Avenue (intersection of College and Mulberry) 7:15 PM to 7:30 PM (First Presbyterian stop only from October through April)
- When: Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, 7 PM to 10:15 PM
If you are looking for assistance during the weekday, please consider visiting us at the Murphy Center. Or, if you are out-and-about during the day, you might bump into a staff member from a separate, partner organization that also provides Street Outreach services: Outreach Fort Collins.
Want to join the Street Outreach team? Volunteers must be 18+ and commit to at least one shift per month, approximately 3.5 hours per shift. Contact us by phone at (970) 829-1162 or by email at Volunteer@HomelessGear.org to learn more.
“We had an amazing time. I am not going to lie, I was a bit nervous at first, but it turned out to be an amazing experience. My eyes were really opened to something I had held a stereotype for a long time.” – Street Outreach volunteer, reflecting on her first shift
- Linda Nuss, Program Director (Service Inquiries)
- Email: Linda@HomelessGear.org
- Phone: (970) 316-4037
- Pam Brewer, Volunteer Coordinator (Volunteer Inquiries)
- Email: Pam@HomelessGear.org
- Phone: (970) 829-1162