"Tikkun olam” literally means to repair the world. It is a call for social justice and action, and to help with those who may be disadvantaged and in conditions without power.
Capitol Hill United Ministries (CHUM)/The Women’s Homelessness Initiative (WHI) is dedicated to serving our beloved community through education, engagement, and service, including clothing those in need, feeding the hungry, inviting in the stranger, and supporting partner agencies that serve the unhoused and their guests.
The Women's Homelessness Initiative was established in 2012 to offer shelter and hospitality every night of the year to unhoused women. Founded by members of Capitol Hill United Ministries, the nonreligious nonprofit is operated by volunteers through a network of diverse and inclusive congregations, agencies, and organizations in central Denver.
CHUM/WHI strives to provide vulnerable women and all of Denver’s unhoused people with a chance to be known, heard, and cared for with compassion, dignity, respect, and presence of heart. More than 1,000 volunteers come together to share their time, talent, and treasure.
Like so many other organizations, the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 forced WHI and our corps of committed volunteers to pivot from the work we have done in the past. It also marked an especially difficult time for unhoused men and women, and the agencies working with them. We knew we had to continue to support them.
Since the start of COVID, WHI's volunteers have remained engaged and active.
Over the past three and a half years we have provided more than 100,000 meals to support local outreach organizations, including Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Outreach, Delores Project, Denver Public Library Outreach, EarthLinks, Network Coffee House, Rodeway Shelter, St. Francis Center Outreach, St. Francis Center, St. Francis Apartments, Colorado Village Collaborative (CVC)/W. 14th Ave. Safe Outdoor Space (SOS), Urban Peak, and Warren Residences. Each day, our volunteers purchase and prepare meals, spending more than $100 per delivery of their own money, before delivering them to the those in need. Our volunteers need financial assistance to continue this essential work.
In addition, WHI works with local agencies to identify crucially needed supplies, such as toiletries, household items, clothes, food, and more, and has collected truckloads full each month for agencies that have included: Network Coffee House, The Gathering Place, St. Francis Center Outreach, Urban Peak, Warren Residences, Samaritan House, Delores Project, EarthLinks, Safe Outdoor Spaces (sanctioned encampments), and the unhoused who were sheltered at the Denver Coliseum.
Due to the high influx of migrants entering our state, CHUM/WHI resources are also used to help, as we are able, with this added community challenge.
In the fall of 2023, CHUM/WHI created and coordinated a successful forum, CoGenerate: an intergenerational discussion on the issue of the unhoused, a forum of compassion, education, hope and our response. For the 150 young and older adults in attendance, we provided a safe and informative space to become educated around the issue of homelessness and to be bold and creative in brainstorming solutions. With, yet another pivot in the direction of educating the community on the issue of the unhoused was made byCHUM WHI.