To empower individuals and families who face homelessness to survive, move forward and thrive.
When Ken John sold his sporting goods manufacturing business and retired in 2007, he set out to help people experiencing homelessness. An avid outdoorsman, Ken realized that, despite Colorado's harsh winters, there was no Colorado-based organization whose core mission was to collect and distribute survival gear to people who were homeless. He founded Homeless Gear, now Homeward Alliance (HWA), in 2008 with a simple mission: collect and distribute life-sustaining supplies to the people who needed them most.
In the 11 years since, that program has helped thousands of people survive and meet their basic needs.
More importantly, we have applied (and continue to apply) the same principles as Ken did in 2007/2008: collect data to identify gaps, implement evidence-based solutions to fill those gaps and evaluate/adjust our work in terms of outcomes (individual- and system-level) and fiscal efficiency. That has led us to absorb or launch 10 additional programs and initiatives that provide everything from basic-needs assistance to long-term, housing-focused case management, employment counseling, benefits-enrollment assistance, direct financial assistance and more.
Today, HWA is the largest and most-impactful provider of services to people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in Larimer County, a local thought leader and advocate for data-driven, cost-efficient solutions to the issue of homelessness and a nimble centerpiece of a rapidly improving, regional homelessness response system in northern Colorado.
Our name, Homeward Alliance, represents a belief that we are more than the sum of our parts. We are an alliance-a diverse group of 20-plus professional staff, 1,000-plus dedicated volunteers, dozens of partner organizations, funders and other stakeholders-that collectively envisions a future in which homelessness is rare, short-lived and non-recurring. And within that vision, we work collaboratively to achieve our mission: empower individuals and families who face homelessness to survive, move forward and thrive.
"The willingness to help out with anything I needed during these very difficult times. Your help has been invaluable to me, and I don't know how I would have managed without your guys' help and support. It takes dedication and insight into the whole process to contribute in so many ways."
"Even after the ugliest storm can come the prettiest rainbow."
"They [Murphy Center] saved my life."
"They've helped me with their core services and resources within the community. Have provided a safe atmosphere as a shelter. Staff has been great."
"I cannot really find the words to express my gratitude/appreciation for the Murphy Center…I have felt supported and learned so much during this difficult, eye opening experience. The staff here are able to do an extremely difficult time. I have found compassion here and I am amazed at how much work is accomplished on our behalf each day. I am so impressed by the staff's ability to keep their hearts and minds open and smiles on their faces…your encouragement and support is invaluable; never underestimate how much difference you make for us. Thank you so much for everything - honestly."
"It was a little nerve-racking not being around people anymore, just to have me and my son there. It was scary to feel that independence and still feel safe being alone. But when everything was moved in, I walked into my house and I took a deep breath, I looked around, and felt a total sense of freedom! So calm and happy like every voice that said I couldn't was silenced. Our past was gone and mine and my son's life was just beginning."
"Thank you so very much, the mail box service and kindness shown me was wonderful! I have no wonderful in my daily life!"
"The Murphy Center gave me hope and helped me stay focused on my goals and needs. They have helped me and my family so much. Thank you, Murphy Center and staff."
"When I met my village for the first time, I was so nervous. Was a group of strangers really going to help me? Were they really going to care? They did, and more than anyone can imagine. The help, the support, the understanding. It was all incredible. One of them even gave us a ride to Denver so my kids could say goodbye to their father one last time before he was deported. Thanks to their help, my kids and I got a car, stable employment and our own apartment…I am so grateful these wonderful people walked into my life when they did."
"The Murphy Center and all its resources has changed my life and given me a new beginning. I went from substance abuse, domestic violence, emotional wreck, homelessness to dealing with all these problems and conquering them one by one. Certain people have been my angels but on a whole the Murphy Center was the beginning and the end. I can't say enough good things about the programs because they all saved my life for real. I'm now in housing and no longer on the street, dealing with my emotional issues (only the beginning). Thank you and God Bless each and every staff member, counselor and team member of the Murphy Center. You have all played a big role in making me remember that life can be good no matter how bad it's been in the past. Please keep trying to change lives and I will be grateful to you all forever. PS: I hope to make a difference in someone's life one day the way you have made a difference to me."
"The Murphy Center for Hope, being a container of comfort and guidance, of direction and, well, of hope... it's helped me with a place to stay, a job, a hug, warmth, food, comfort… My thanks for their ever-smiles and direction, for their concerns and their warmth, for their skills and their colossal hearts for others, for their time and attention. My wounds are still healing, but... My Situation Will Change."
"The Murphy Center was completely instrumental in all facets of help that I needed. The smiles and encouragement here made all the difference. In fact, everything I now enjoy is a direct result of the many resources and services that the Murphy Center offers. I am extremely grateful that such a place is in existence, otherwise I'm not certain what my circumstances would be at this time in my life."
"Just a heart-wrenching night to be out. We don't see as many people on rainy nights like these, but the people we do see are -- more often than not -- in impossible situations... Cold, wet and looking for places to get warm and dry. The first man we saw just needed a tarp -- something to cover himself for the night... Then a man shivering without a coat in front of a convenience store...Then a young couple in a car, just looking for a bite to eat. In spite of the weather, virtually everyone we have seen has been kind and thankful, even good-spirited. One young man laughed as he struggled to put on his rain poncho (those things can be tricky); another man came out of his car just to say hello. Home has a different meaning on nights like these. We should all be grateful for what we have. So many aren't so lucky." -- Street Outreach Volunteer