Sister Mary Alice Murphy, a long-time advocate for the poor in Fort Collins, helped open the first soup kitchen, the first clothing bank, the first homeless shelter, and the first non-profit affordable housing agency. Named in her honor, The Sister Mary Alice Murphy Center for Hope opened in March 2009, through a partnership between United Way of Larimer County and Touchstone Health Partners, to provide a multitude of services under one roof for families and individuals who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness. Today, they serve an average of 156 visitors per day and over a third of those served are part of a family with children.
However, when the center opened, United Way’s intent was to make it viable and then find a long term operator and owner before moving on to other projects. Over three years later, they were still looking and turned their attention to Serve 6.8.
Meanwhile, across town, Serve 6.8 was learning to serve the community with no strings attached. (See last week’s post on “What Is Serve 6.8?”) Looking for open spaces or gaps not being served, volunteers stepped in to fill the urgent needs after the High Park Fire and forged relationships with many community organizations. With the invitation from United Way to oversee operations at The Murphy Center, Serve 6.8 is honored to fill this gap and support the ongoing mission to help homeless families and individuals become stable, self-sufficient, and maintain permanent housing.
What does this service look like at The Murphy Center? After each guest meets with a case manager, they have the opportunity to connect with a variety of on-site services including health care referrals, dental referrals, employment resources, housing resources, financial counseling, transportation assistance, job training and educational opportunities, mental health and substance abuse counseling, clothing, cold weather gear, food, showers and laundry facilities, play areas for children, and access to a telephone and computer for making employment contacts. These services are provided by a variety of local human services agencies and offered free of charge.
What will Serve 6.8 be doing at The Murphy Center? It is their intent and desire to continue the work begun there in 2009. Through an agreement with United Way of Larimer County, Serve 6.8 will become the owners and operators of the facility effective July 1, 2013. At that time, all current case managers, office staff, and the program supervisor will become Serve 6.8 employees. Serve 6.8 will also be responsible for raising the annual operating budget through donations and grants. To help support Serve 6.8 at The Murphy Center, you can make a donation here.