Denver's Catholic Worker in need!!!

$20,065 of $200,000 goal

Raised by 182 people in 37 months

In the early morning hours on Thursday, January 28th, 2016, the Denver Catholic Worker House, a house of hospitality for people experiencing homelessness, caught fire and was burnt out. Fortunately all 12 residents are now safe, one having been hospitalized for smoke inhalation. Although some lost everything, walking out without shoes on, thankfully no one was seriously physically injured. Now we are attempting to put our lives back together, trusting in provision and trying to imagine what it will mean to rebuild.

All 9 of our guests where given vouchers by the American Red Cross which they could use to stay in motels on a temporary basis (we aren’t sure how long). Unfortunately, when these vouchers are used up, neither they, nor our live-in workers will have a home to return to. As is the tradition of the Catholic Worker, volunteers are unpaid and live with our guests in voluntary poverty. As we attempt to think about what our future as a community will look like, the realities of Denver’s unaffordable rental market are very real to our workers as well as our guest. Our entire yearly budget has been about what a small low income family lives off of, and we have been a household of 12 to 15 people. This has been possible, in part, because of the support of our long time landlord. Needless to say, the small amount of reserve money in our bank account will not be sufficient to cover the cost of finding a new home, and at this point we do not believe that we will receive any insurance settlement for our losses.

But, so goes the life of the Catholic Worker. Since our movement began in 1933 in New York City, the 200+ Catholic Worker Communities across the globe have intentionally lived with little more security than the unhoused guests we offer hospitality to. Or at least we strive to live in solidarity with the poor as family and friends, rather than make a profession out of charity. We do not receive any government funding, nor do big businesses tend to support our efforts. So without assurance of the future, our mission does not change – to be a community of hospitality and grace, living simply and attempting to serve and share in the struggle which our sisters and brothers on the streets face daily, trusting in provision and human expressions of love.

As news has gotten out about the fire, we have been reminded by former guests, workers and strangers why our work is so important. There are countless more living without housing within the city of Denver than there are services to help. It has been this way for a long time, only worsening as federal funds for affordable housing have been decimated, while wages have remained flat and rent has increased astronomically. The emergency shelter system is overburdened and degrading, unable to match the needs of the people within the system, offering little more than a cot in a crowded room full of strangers without the promise of future housing options. Along with the burning of the Catholic Worker House came the loss of the only room designated for unhoused couples without children. In other circumstances, men and women would be separated (regardless of commitment) and same sex couples wouldn’t be recognized as partners.

What many have reminded us that the Catholic Worker has offered, since Anna Koop and her friends opened the house in 1978, was a home where people were accepted as friends rather than clients; a home where each person had a door to close and a community to break bread with; a place where justice and peace is practiced not only in demonstrations and vigils, but also in the daily sharing of life together; an anomaly in a society that spends more money on economic development and the incarceration of poor people than it does on providing safe and affordable housing for those struggling through this system. We pray and hope that these priorities change. And we wish to continue to be a part of that change, as co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement Peter Maurin said, “To create a world where it is easier for people to be good.”

Our future does look precarious, but we are attempting to find a way forward together, trusting in provision and the support of others. If you would like to join us in this work, we ask first and foremost that you consider how you might be able to extend hospitality to those without, within your own circumstance. Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, believed that if each of us took responsibility for each other, there would be no need for impersonal and degrading systems to take care of ‘the poor’. “If your brother is hungry,” she said, “You feed him. You do not turn him away from your door and say ‘go be thou fed’.” If you would like to open a room up within your own home for someone who is going without housing, and are unable to find someone on your own, please contact us and we will refer someone to you.

If offering a ‘Christ Room’ to someone without housing in your own house is not feasible, and you would like to contribute to the work of our community, we would be grateful for support. As many of our guests are scattered in motel rooms across the city and we ourselves have no room to store blankets and clothing, we cannot accept large donations of physical items. Motel vouchers are greatly appreciated. Many of the guests are in need of clothing, and gift cards to stores like Ross, Target or the ARC are appropriate. Healthy food is a high priority, and gift cards for grocery stores are also welcome.

For years, Denver Food Rescue has delivered leftovers from grocery stores to the Catholic Worker House and we have organized it and redistributed it to low income families living within our neighborhood. Thanks to the Little Flower Catholic Worker House – a new smaller house of hospitality – we will continue this program to the best of our abilities. Kristen, who has spearheaded this effort is welcoming help on Sundays. Also, a permanent live-in worker volunteer opportunity is available at the Little Flower Catholic Worker House. Contact Carol Briggs for more information – 303-377-1894.

Lastly, we would like to open another house soon. We are grateful for any financial contributions and if there is a parish, community, church or individual who is able to donate a property to our efforts, we would be more than happy to speak with you. Please feel free to contact any of the following people to arrange donations or connect with us.

Anna Koop – 720-940-5482

Marcus Hyde – 303-507-8065

Jennifer Haines – 303-298-9910

Kristen Brunelli (to help with food)- 732-778-8906

Any checks can be made out to The Denver Catholic Worker House and mailed to:

1023 26th Street

Denver Colorado 80205.

For now, Mass/Prayer continues at the regular time, Thursdays at 7:30pm, and will be held at 3024 Elizabeth Street. All are welcome, regardless of religious affiliation.

This past Thursday, on the evening of the fire, we read in the scriptures that there will be ‘house for God’s people.’ We understand more now than ever that we must create a sense of home among each other. ‘There are still many for whom there is no room in the inn.’ But there will be a house for the people of God.

Thank you for your prayers and good intentions.

In peace and solidarity,

Your friends,

The Denver Catholic Worker Community

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Hi everyone, you are receiving this note because when the Catholic Worker House burned in January 2016, you responded with generosity to the need of your neighbors. Thanks to people like you, over $100,000 poured in during 2016, but an opportunity to buy a house did not present itself UNTIL NOW.

TODAY we are announcing that we are MOBILIZING to raise $300,000 over the next THREE MONTHS in order to buy a new house for the DCW, and we are doing so on a new gofundme page:

Will you consider making a donation today at the same level that you were able to donate in 2016?

Will you consider sharing our exciting news with your friends and family?

Denver Catholic Worker
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Thank You all who have and continue to support our cause! We have been busy at work looking at properties and future homes for the Catholic Worker. We will keep you up to date as we move forward. Our love and prayers of thanks go out to all of you.
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Hi all,
Words cannot express how grateful we are for this incredible gift. For the fundraiser to be so successful has been a a suprise and a reminder of the amazing, kind, big-hearted people in our community.... thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The past week has been a lot of dust settling and getting our bearings. We would love to share an update soon about specifics, where our guests and workers are at, and ideas for the future,.. but for now please just let us say thank you. Here are a few photos of the Worker over the years. Never hesitate to call or email us, everyone's contact information can be found at
So much Love.
house dinner for workers and guests
guests of the house-- a few years back
painting by one of the workers Kris
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Thank you all so much for the support already! It means so much to us! For real thank you all!
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Read a Previous Update
Dennis Kennedy
37 months ago

I believe it should read 2016, not 2015, as the date of the fire?

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$20,065 of $200,000 goal

Raised by 182 people in 37 months
Created January 30, 2016
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Janine Armatas
10 months ago

In memory of Larry Seidl MD

John Deguara
19 months ago

This donation is in honor of Katie Glynn and Michael Baxter's marriage.

Anne Gaspers
20 months ago

I would like to make a donation in celebration of the wedding of Katie Glynn and Michael Baxter on June 23, 2017.

22 months ago
Jesus & Amy Obee
23 months ago

I've recently learned about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement in a graduate class I am taking at CU Denver in their Social Justice Program. I am a big fan!! Dorothy breaks my heart and challenges me in ways I never imagined. I'm so sorry to hear of your fire and admire the optimism and hope you have for the future. God Bless Amy

26 months ago

With hope for 2017!

Beth and Jim Nollenberger
26 months ago

Merry Christmas

28 months ago (Monthly Donation)
29 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Dennis Kennedy
37 months ago

I believe it should read 2016, not 2015, as the date of the fire?

+ Read More
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