To provide food, shelter, clothing, counseling, rehabilitation, and hygienic services to the homeless and less fortunate.
In December 1998, several lay Franciscans recognized a true need for services to the homeless which were not being rendered by other agencies in the area. They renovated and constructed new shower and laundry facilities at a former Catholic high school in Denver, where they provided showers and laundry services to the homeless. Later these services were expanded to include the serving of meals, and the services were moved to a small, 100 year old house at 7th and Lipan in Denver, Colorado. Through the help of benefactors and donors, the property directly behind the small house was acquired, and on that property now stands the 5700 square foot Father Woody's Haven of Hope, a full-service day shelter for the homeless and indigent.
We provide haircuts, hygiene items (such as razors, soaps, shampoo, nail clippers, over-the-counter medications, sanitary products) bus tokens, mail and internet services, and free telephone services, including long distance, to our guests. Document safe-keeping is also available. A small clothing room is on site.
Regis University provides nursing students for a first aid clinic and health education once per week during school rotations. Guests can meet daily with outreach workers from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, and weekly with workers from Denver Health and Stout Street Clinic. Students from Regis University help with meal service and clean up daily during the school year.
While Fr. Woody's is certainly a "faith-based" charity, it is a private non-profit organization, receiving no funds from the government. It is not part of any church or religious organization.
Operating costs are kept low by virtue of in-kind donations and the faithful service of volunteers.
Tom Kearin is an example of the profound individual impact Father Woody's has had in empowering the homeless to attain self-sufficiency. Once homeless, Tom now works in the Haven of Hope kitchen five days a week, helping prepare 800 meals a day for the homeless in Denver. Tom's lifestyle led to the loss of his marriage, then he lost his job when his employer had to close his business. Tom lived with his son for a while, but when his son went overseas with the military, Tom had no place to live and ended up on the streets looking for work. Each time he told a potential employer that he had no address, he was told he couldn't apply for the job. After being a homeless guest for some time at Father Woody's, Tom asked if they had a job for him. At first we brought him on as a volunteer, then hired him as a dishwasher. Working at Father Woody's has restored Tom's hope and given him access to the resources he needs to support himself.