Homeward Alliance

Survive, Move Forward, Thrive

aka Homeward Alliance, Inc.   |   Fort Collins, CO   |  www.homewardalliance.org

Mission

The mission of Homeward Alliance is to empower individuals and families facing homelessness to survive, move forward and thrive. We operate a continuum of programs and the Murphy Center, the hub of services for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in Larimer County. We help people meet their immediate and long-term needs while furthering our community's plan to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring.

Ruling year info

2012

Executive Director

David Rout

Main address

P.O. Box 873

Fort Collins, CO 80522-0873 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Homeless Gear

EIN

27-4641606

NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Homeward Alliance, known formerly as Homeless Gear, is a Fort Collins, Colorado based nonprofit that empowers individuals and families who face homelessness to survive, move forward and thrive. We operate a continuum of eleven programs and initiatives that help people meet their basic needs, secure and maintain housing and achieve economic stability. We operate a continuum of eleven programs and initiatives: Housing First Initiative, Family Services, Hand Up, Re-Entry, Dedicated Navigator, Street Outreach, Family Resource Fairs, Bicycle Repair, Distribution, Mobile Laundry and the Murphy Center, our community’s “one-stop-shop” resource center for people experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Collectively, our efforts help people meet their immediate and long-term needs while furthering our community’s plan to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Murphy Center for Hope

The Murphy Center is the hub of services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or housing instability in Larimer County. Every year, the Murphy Center facilitates more than 40,000 guest visits per year. The Murphy Center services three primary roles in our community: 1) one-stop shop resource center; 2) core human services and 3) morning/day shelter.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Provide housing-focused case management to individuals who have been homeless for at least six months and collection actionable data on local homelessness

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Match volunteer teams with families to help 1) help families obtain sustainable housing and 2) provide a network of support as families progress toward economic security.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Families

Empower Job seekers to find and maintain employment, provide job coaching and supportive services, build relationships with local employers, operate a career closet for job-related clothing, gear and tools.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Support for individuals who are on parole and at medium-to-high risk of recidivism to locate employment and housing through case management services.

Population(s) Served
Incarcerated people
Homeless people

Help individuals and families fill out forms and apply for public benefits (food stamps, medicaid, etc.)

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Host services for children and families and distribute basic supplies to agencies that serve children.

Population(s) Served
Families
Children and youth

Collect and distribute supplies that help people survive and meet their basic needs. This is a Colorado state-wide distribution program that supports non-profits that serve people experiencing homelessness.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Provide bike repair to people experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk of homelessness, including at the Murphy Center, local non-profits and low-income neighborhoods.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Homeward Alliance operates a continuum of programs and initiatives, ranging from critical survival gear, to employment services, to homelessness prevention. We are not only an alliance of services, but also an alliance of volunteers, donors, agency partners and other community stakeholders.

Survive. Provide individuals and families with the supplies and services that they need to survive, endure the Colorado elements and meet basic physical and emotional needs.
Move Forward. Connect people to the services that they need to progress toward stability; serve as a liaison between people who are homeless and the broader community, connect with people who are disconnected from the traditional agency system, etc.
Thrive. Support individuals and families to obtain economic and personal stability—to not only escape or prevent homelessness, but to be equipped with the tools that they need (financial management, the ability to advocate for one’s self, employment skills, etc.) to effectively navigate issues in the future that may have deterred their success in the past.

Our three primary goals are designed to a) meet both short-term and long-term needs, b) support people in the process of self-determination to decide when and how to engage in services, c) respond effectively to the complexities of each person's situation, and, 4) encourage and provide the tools necessary to people as they work toward economic stability (in whatever form that takes for them, i.e. supportive housing, their own apartment, return to a family member’s home, etc.).

While our three primary goals may at first glance reflect a linear thinking—from meeting basic needs to obtaining sustainable housing—we, in fact, subscribe to and practice a Housing First philosophy. That is, we believe that housing is a fundamental human need, and that it is difficult (if not impossible) to address other issues (e.g. unemployment, mental illness, substance use, physical disability) without the foundation of housing. Research also suggests that the longer a person experiences homelessness, the more difficult it is for them to regain housing.

Homeward Alliance continues to address these challenges by impacting the areas of the housing market we can control, namely engaging and building relationships with landlords to (a) increase housing opportunities and (b) reduce barriers for our participants. With each individual and family we serve, we prioritize housing. We work at intake to identify potential immediate solutions, such as landlord mediation or short-term rent assistance. When immediate solutions are not possible, the goal remains the same: housing. Both at intake and across our programs—even as we provide other, diverse services—we help individuals navigate the often-complex, often-frustrating search for housing.

Today, we are the largest provider of services specifically to people who are homeless in Fort Collins, and among the largest agencies serving people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in northern Colorado. In 2018, we served about 5,000 individuals, and our outcomes improved (year-over-year and relative to all other years) in the areas of service engagement, employment and housing.
Homeward Alliance has a ten-year history of providing a wide range of services—with positive outcomes—to people experiencing homelessness.

Our experience runs the gamut: (a) supply distribution and basic-needs assistance to thousands of individuals across the state, (b) the organization and management of service fairs for children, families and adults, (c) direct engagement via street outreach, (d) assistance and expertise in the complex process of government-assistance applications, (e) employment-search assistance, partnerships with job-training programs and partnerships with hiring businesses, (f) housing-focused and volunteer-leveraged case management for families and individuals, (g) services associated with rapid rehousing for families, (h) services associated with permanent supportive housing for individuals and families, (i) management of the Re-Entry program (WAGEES-funded), which specifically serves individuals who are on parole and identified by the Department of Corrections (DOC) as medium- to high-risk of recidivism and (j) operation of a daily resource center (the Murphy Center) that records more than 40,000 interactions with over 3,000 individuals each year.

Each of our activities developed to meet a community need. We launched Distribution because there were no local organizations whose core mission was to collect and distribute gear; Bicycle Repair in recognition of transportation needs; Family Resource Fairs in response to a gap identified by staff within Poudre School District; Street Outreach to connect with individuals who were not accessing the traditional agency system; Dedicated Navigator in response to the overwhelming benefits applications process; Re-Entry due to a gap in coordination and case management for parolees; Hand Up in response to having no employment programs tailored to this population; and HFI to quantify—and provide solutions to—homelessness in Fort Collins. Similarly, we assumed management of the Murphy Center for Hope to fill a clear community void.

Homeward Alliance supports various programs to help individuals and families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in Northern Colorado. Homeward Alliance operates a continuum of programs and initiatives, ranging from critical survival gear, to employment services, to homelessness prevention. We are not only an alliance of services, but also an alliance of volunteers, donors, agency partners and other community stakeholders. We envision a community in which homelessness is rare, short-lived and non-recurring.

The goal of the Murphy Center is to provide a continuum of services, in a single location, to help people to survive through crisis, move forward into stabilization and ultimately to thrive in a return to self-sufficiency while helping our community fulfill its vision to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring.

The Murphy Center was born out of a unique, six-years-long community collaboration of nonprofit, faith and government entities. The building opened in March 2009 and has, since then, served triple the number of people as expected. The center has proven to be a model for community collaboration and an essential resource in Larimer County. On January 1, 2017, the Murphy Center officially became an initiative of Homeward Alliance under it’s 501c3 alongside Homeward Alliance’s continuum of 9 programs all working toward helping people survive crisis, move forward into stabilization and ultimately to thrive in a return to self sufficiency. The collective mission of the Murphy Center and it’s collaborative of agencies is to provide a central location where those who are homeless or near-homelessness can feel welcomed, safe, and supported as they access services and programs to help them on their paths to self-sufficiency and to help our community in it’s vision to make homelessness rare, short-lived and non-recurring.

The Murphy Center serves five main roles in our community:
●Provides the infrastructure for and facilitates a single location for more than 3,000 individuals (including families/children) to efficiently access a wide array of services
●Provides Core Human Services, with more than 40,000 guest interactions each year to address day to day needs (showers, laundry, lockers, computers, phones, food, survival supplies and more)
●Serves as morning day shelter for more than 100 guests each day providing a continental breakfast, coffee, a warm and safe environment and the opportunity to prepare for the day’s activities.
●Facilitates the Housing First Initiative (HFI): Launched in July of 2017 and in partnership with Homeward 2020, the City of Fort Collins, and multiple community stakeholders, HFI is a case management program for highly vulnerable individuals and a data-collection tool for the City.

Our programs and initiatives (with key statistics)
•Housing First Initiative (HFI): A two-pronged program that (a) provides intensive case management to people who have been homeless for at least six months and (b) collects City-level data on the issue of long-term homelessness for City leaders and other stakeholders. In 2018, HFI identified more than 50 individuals who escaped homelessness after experiencing homelessness in Fort Collins for at least six months
•Hand Up: Empower job-seekers to obtain economic stability by (a) providing employment-focused case management and (b) building business partnerships that increase job opportunities for the people we serve. In 2018, we secured more than 225 jobs for program participants, with a six-month retention rate of about 65%;
•Re-Entry: Re-Entry is part of "WAGEES", a state-funded program for individuals on parole who are identified as medium-to-high risk of recidivism. In 2018, we served 109 individuals; we helped secure 57 jobs for participants, and helped at least 37 escape homelessness (not all participants are homeless); we maintained a 4% recidivism rate;
•Dedicated Navigator: Help individuals and families fill out forms and apply for benefits, such as Medicaid. In 2018, we helped complete at least 321 benefits applications; 111 households secured food assistance, 110 secured Medicaid, nine secured Old Age Pension, Aid for the Needy and Disabled or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; collectively, program participants received approval for more than $900,000 in potential annual benefits;
•Street Outreach: Send volunteers onto the streets to build relationships, connect people to resources and distribute life-sustaining supplies. In 2018, we recorded more than 2,000 interactions with about 860 unduplicated individuals;
•Children in Need: (a) Host service fairs for children and families through which we distribute supplies and bring together about a dozen organizations to deliver eye exams, haircuts, etc. and (b) distribute supplies to agencies that serve children and youth. In 2018, we served 362 unduplicated families (991 individuals) at service fairs and distributed more than $20,000 worth of food to low-income or children experiencing homelessness in the Thompson School District;
•Bicycle Repair: Ensure safe, reliable transportation and build positive relationships through bicycle maintenance and repair. In 2018, we served about 300 individuals and repaired more than 400 bicycles;
•Distribution: Distribute supplies that help people survive and meet their basic needs. In 2018, we distributed more than $1 million worth of life-sustaining supplies.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Our organization recently provided paper feedback forms to participants in our Incliment Weather Day Shelter locations and our Isolation, Recovery & Quarantine site with the intent to collect and record information from our guests. Our organization recently interviewed 5 participants in our NCS community housing program. Individuals were recorded on video to answer questions and provide feedback on their stay at a local hotel while awaiting housing placement in the community. Our organization recently interviewed 2 participants in our FUSE (Frequent User Service Enhancement) program who were recently housed in apartments in the community.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Homeward Alliance
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Homeward Alliance

Board of directors
as of 8/30/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Paula Stearns

Colorado Nurses Association (retired)

Chris Banks

Odell Brewing Company

Justie Nicol

Nicol Gersch Patterson Criminal Defense and Family Law

Julie Shuffler

Nutrien Financial

Kathy Nicol

Nicol Realty, LLC (retired)

Isabelle Orrico

Intel Corporation

Rob Streight

Bobo's Baked Goods

Ken John

Emeritus Board Member, Homeless Gear Founder

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/1/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/01/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.