Month: January 2016

​Hundreds Call for the Right 2 Rest at the Fest on Monday!!


Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the Capitol on Monday January 25th, 2016 to speak out and show their support for the Right to Rest! Speakers included Representatives Salazar and Melton; Members of organizations such as Black Lives Matter, Democratic Party, 9 to 5, People Rising Against Poverty, and Denver University Law School; and roughly 20 experts on the criminalization of homelessness due to direct experience. On top of that there were musicians and slam poetry all about the criminalization of homelessness, a hoop performance, and a can recycling show like none ever seen! All ate yummy food, got warm cloths, and Right2Rest buttons! People experiencing homelessness came from all over the State including Fort Collins, Boulder, and Aurora. This year we are ready to stand strong and loud together and tell the state of Colorado WE NEED THE RIGHT TO REST!
Here is one woman speaking at the fest about her experience suffering from lack of sleep after only a week on the streets in Denver. (linked here): “I don’t know what this is about, but the Right To Rest sounds right to me.”

And here are some more video of speeches at the Fest…

Jesse of Denver Homeless Out Loud —

Roshan of Black Lives Matter —

Nathan of ACLU —

Women Needing the Right to Rest –

Watch news coverage here

This Right 2 Rest Fest was one of many actions happening around Martin Luther King Day in Support of the Right 2 Rest!

Denver Catholic Worker House Burned Down – Support Needed

See below letter from the Denver Catholic Worker concerning the Fire Destruction of Denver Catholic Worker House of Hospitality and call for support. DHOL encourages all to support in whatever ways you can…

Support the Catholic Worker Recovery on go fund me here


The Denver Catholic Worker House

Denver Catholic Worker House Fire – A Time to Rebuild

In the early morning hours on Thursday, January 28th, 2015, 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.

Also, look on our website – soon for a page where you can donate directly

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

Right 2 Rest Fest is Monday Jan 25!

Right 2 Rest Fest is Monday Jan 25!

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Organizations Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Western Days of Action in Support of Campaign Protecting the Civil Rights of Homeless People

When: Monday January 25th, 11am-3pm, 2016

Where: State Capitol Building (Colfax and Lincoln)

Last year 300 plus people gathered on the Capitol steps for the first “Right to Rest Fest” to gain momentum for the legislative hearings of the Right to Rest Act that year. The bill did not pass last year but the Right to Rest Act is back! in 2016 Representatives Salazar and Melton are again sponsoring the bill.

On Monday January 25th from 11am-3pm we will be back at the State Capitol for the Right to Rest Fest! Join us to speak out, eat food, listen to music, and call for the end of the criminalization of people living without homes!

In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the week commemorating his contributions to the Civil Rights movement, members of the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) are holding days of action in support of the civil and human rights of homeless people.  

WRAP’s days of action will highlight and push for the passage of our Right to Rest Act, which would help end the criminalization and incarceration of unhoused individuals and families. The proposed state legislation is a response to the growing trend of cities creating laws that make it illegal to sit, sleep, stand, and share food in public space.  

Right now Colorado Springs city council is considering passing law to make it illegal to sit on anything other than “designated seating areas,” and Fort Collins city council is considering a new version of their camping ban which makes covering yourself with anything other than clothing illegal.

“We raise our voices this week to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and continue his work in fighting for the civil rights of the most marginalized in our society,” said Ibrahim Mubarak of Portland’s Right 2 Survive, one of the 180 organizations working actively on the Homeless Bill of Rights Campaign. “With shelters filled to capacity and thousands of people on waiting lists for housing around the state, homeless people have no choice but to live in public space. Cities cannot continue to act as if arresting people for that is going to solve the problem.”

Over the past couple of years we have documented 1,527 homeless people’s interactions with local police, private security guards, and the criminal justice system in 17 cities in 8 states.  All respondents participated in the surveys for the opportunity to speak “unfiltered” to the broader community about what is really happening on our nation’s streets to poor, disabled, and homeless community members.

More than three-quarters of survey respondents (81%) reported being harassed, cited or arrested by police officers for sleeping outside,  76% reported the same for sitting or lying down and 74% for loitering or simply “hanging out.” These were far and away the top crimes for which homeless people were charged. A sad corresponding fact is that only one quarter of respondents (25%) believed that they knew of safe, legal places to sleep.

WRAP continues its fight to protect these civil rights for all. Representatives in both the Colorado and California state legislature are expected to introduce Right to Rest legislation in the coming weeks.

WRAP’s Right to Rest Days of Action are taking place in San Francisco, Denver, Portland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chico and several other cities. WRAP’s actions stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all other groups fighting unjust, violent law enforcement.

“Policymakers and elected officials can no longer use the police, discriminatory laws, and unjust enforcement as solutions to the problems that pervade our communities,” said Paul Boden of the Western Regional Advocacy Project. “They cannot ignore the calls for justice emanating from communities across the country.”


Right 2 Rest Fest! January 25th at the State Capitol

2016 Colorado Right to Rest Act is coming…!!!
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SAVE THE DATE: Monday January 25th 11am3pm – Right 2 Rest Fest! 
at the State Capitol (Lincoln and Colfax)
Join us a festival for the Right to Rest Act which is before the Colorado Legislator again this 2016 – speak out, eat food, listen to music, and call for the end of the criminalization of people living without homes!
This festival is part of 6 cities across the west that are standing up this week in honor of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr in the fight for ourRights to Exist! From Colorado to Oregon, and California we will come together in solidarity with a broad based national organizing campaign to rebuild new cities in America that respect and value us all, block by block. – See more at:
Spread the word…!
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