2016 Year-in-Review


Just before the start of 2016, Homeless Gear -- alongside a diverse and experienced group of nonprofits, foundations and community organizations -- embarked on a new journey: we assumed the role of Managing Partner of the Murphy Center for Hope.
We were confident in our plan... after all, we had been a part of the Murphy Center since shortly after its inception. We knew (for the most part) what to expect.
But there were many questions whose answers we could only know with time: How would a collaborative, multi-agency leadership structure work at a building that had always operated under the umbrella of a single entity? What impact, positive or negative, would our management role have on our existing family of programs? How would clients, or guests, respond to changes, and how would we ensure that their voices remained loud and impactful?
It would be dishonest to say that everything went to plan. We hit roadblocks and learned hard lessons; we rewrote policies and rethought procedures; we restructured programs and realigned staffing.
And while we will, undoubtedly, continue to do all those things, we feel confident now -- perhaps more so than ever before -- that we are headed in the right direction... toward a community in which homelessness is rare, short-lived and non-recurring.
We hope that the program reports (below in this newsletter) articulate the reasons for our confidence: Murphy Center outcomes are as strong or stronger than ever, and our six programs (despite or perhaps because of our role at the Murphy Center) continue to flourish. We look forward to statistical growth and programmatic expansions in the New Year.
So, please join us as we look back on a year that was, in many ways, a landmark year for Homeless Gear. And as you do, please remember that nothing we do -- literally nothing -- is possible without you. You are the engine that keeps this train moving. You are the volunteers who provide the direct service; the donors who keep the lights on; the advocates who spread the word and cultivate change; and the partners who so selflessly work alongside us.
From all of us at Homeless Gear, thank you for your service. Happy New Year. 


David Rout
Executive Director

Amy on the right is one example of the amazing groups and individuals that came together in 2016 to collect supplies in support of our mission!
  • Distributed $1.5 million worth of supplies via our Gear Room at the Murphy Center, our Street Outreach program, and to dozens of agencies throughout Larimer County and Colorado
  • Distributed nearly 60,000 meals
  • Served 550 unduplicated families at service events, through which about a dozen other services providers (Christ Clinic, P.U.P., the Family Center, Fort Collins Read Aloud, the Health Department, Tuana Hair Designs, Colorado Legal Services, the Matthews House, Nappie Project, PSD Early Childhood, SAFY, the Mexican Consulate, Dental Connections, Voter Registration, Salud, the Food Bank and so many others!) join us to deliver resource information and through which we distribute basic supplies
  • Collected well over 9,000 meals-worth of food for KidsPak, a weekend hunger-relief program for children in the Thompson School District
The next Children in Need event will take place on Saturday, February 25th.
To sign-up, e-mail Volunteer@HomelessGear.org!
  • Recorded well over 6,000 interactions on the streets of Fort Collins
  • Celebrated our five-year anniversary without (thanks to the outreach team!) ever missing a shift
  • Participated in the development and launch of Outreach Fort Collins, a complementary daytime outreach program (separate from Homeless Gear)
  • Helped people complete more than  520 benefits applications  and secure more than  $1.5 million in potential annual benefits
  • Benefits applications include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food assistance), Old Age Pension, Aid to the Needy and Disabled, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Medicaid
  • Helped secure 193 jobs (134 full-time and 59 part-time), bringing the Hand Up total to 737 jobs secured since 2008!
  • Recorded more than 200 transactions in the Career Closet
  • Helped 10 families obtain housing, meaning that with the support of OVOF, 20 children are no longer homeless
  • Maintained a 100% housing-retention rate for OVOF program participants
  • Celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Murphy Center's new collaborative model with Homeless Gear as Managing Partner
In partnership with all MC partners and the 17 agencies that operate out of the facility...
  • Increased guests served (3,279) and total guest transactions (more than 35,000) by 17% over the previous year (largely by increasing the number of days that the Murphy Center was open by 24 days and fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness for all guests)
  • Celebrated our 38th guest securing housing
  • Increased the number of service providers from 13 to 17, collectively offering a continuum of more than 38 services
  • Provided mail service for over 850 guests, ran more than 1,500 loads of laundry and recorded 6,000 showers
  • Assembled an amazing team of more than 75 weekly volunteers

"A year ago I would never have predicted where we are today.  What started out as one guy fixing one bike per week has developed into a full blown program with 8 volunteers and numerous interested sponsors.  I am very excited for what we will accomplish together in 2017!" - Mark, who started the Bike Program
  • Repaired 329 bikes, averaging 6.5 repairs over 51 total sessions
  • Recorded more than 350 volunteer hours with eight amazing, talented volunteers (thank you Mark, Daniel, Darcy, Dave, Stuart, Ray, Rob and Sue Ellen!)
  • Rebuilt and donated 14 trailers to help people safely transport their personal belongings
From Mark about a guest who (for confidentiality's sake) we will call Brian: 

"He is usually soft spoken, polite, helpful and sincere.  I think we first began to see Brian in July.  We quickly got to know each other and developed a friendship.  He was almost always at the MC on Friday afternoons and was eager to help work on bikes, [putting in] a lot of time assisting us in working on various bikes. His bike was stolen and so we worked to get him a replacement.  He also earned a trailer through volunteer hours. 

Having the new bike and trailer seemed to really change things for Brian.  He became more positive and determined to improve his situation.  We often encouraged him to speak with the Hand Up staff about finding a job.  He was apprehensive at first, but eventually came to trust that the MC staff really did want to help. Last I heard, he was working toward securing a home and possibly a job.  I like to think our interactions with him over time have helped him to move in a good direction, knowing he has friends who support him."

Hundreds of agency and community partners, thousands of individuals and families served, and 17,732 volunteer hours completed by more than 1,000 unduplicated volunteers...wow!!  

Thank you for your impact in 2016!

We are so thankful to announce that in 2016, we exceeded our 
$31K in 31 Days December fundraising campaign goal and well-surpassed last year's campaign. Together, we raised more than $50,000!!! 

Your donation is in huge part responsible for furthering our mission and this growth is what enables us to increase our impact.  It's a huge factor for every single one of our programs and why we can provide comprehensive support to so many individuals and families.

To those of you who made this possible: Thank you!!!!
Mark Your Calendars!

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To learn more about Homeless Gear: www.HomelessGear.org
To learn more about the Murphy Center: www.MurphyCenter.org