We Are Denver Homeless Out Loud
Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) works with and for people who experience homelessness to help protect and advocate for dignity, rights and choices for people experiencing homelessness. We commit our efforts toward goals affirmed and raised by homeless people, within our organization, and throughout the homeless community. We strive to expose the root causes of homelessness and to add our strengths together to create ways of living in which everyone has a safe place they can call home.
HOW WE STARTED
After surveying over 500 people who were experiencing homelessness at the end of the year 2012 in Denver about the effects of the urban camping ban, not surprisingly, the responses showed that the ban is not helping people sleep safely at night. We brought these findings to the City Council only to be ignored. Since then we have not stopped the fight to make our city hear the voice of all of us who have lived or are living without housing.
Direction of Directly Affected
We believe that people with lived experience in homelessness should be the ones directing decisions and plans made about homelessness. We are committed to maintaining and deepening understanding of homeless life through the direct experience of staff, authentic relationships with people currently experiencing homelessness, regular staff time in the homeless community, documented surveys and interviews with people who are homeless, and other means of ensuring the work we do is driven by the expertise of people directly affected by homelessness. Before we take on new campaigns we must check in with large numbers of people who are homeless, directly affected, and ensure that the campaign is in alignment with the experiences of the majority of the homeless community. We believe that our work must always be accountable to the consensus of people directly affected first and foremost.
Within our organization, decision makers must be directly involved in the work being conducted. The staff who make decisions on a plan should be the ones implementing the plan. The people doing the work know best what should be done. Furthermore, staff should have a say in decisions affecting them. No one should be doing work without having a say on how that work is done.
We strive to empower all people to actively and collectively challenge the histories and structures of discrimination and oppression that marginalize some, and divide us all. These include ableism, ageism, classism, heterosexism, homophobia, racism, religious discrimination, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, among others. We work to connect our issues and build collective power through the deep connection of homelessness to all forms of oppression.
We value community. We want to always deepen authentic relationships, broaden our networks of relationships, and open pathways for the community to be part of our work. This work is successful through community collaboration – when housed, unhoused, business, service providers and government come together to create a better world.
We will grow through continual self-reflection, connection, experimentation, and integration. We believe growth happens through critical connections and so we work to build and sustain relationships with all life.
Transformative, not Transactional
We practice emergence through cultivating transformative, not transactional relationships within and between people living through homelessness, frontline groups and communities, donors, and all community collaborators.
We will be accountable and transparent to people most impacted by oppression in our work. An accountable relationship requires an ongoing process of feedback, and access to information. Opportunities to comment on decisions made, learning, and transforming in both directions.
Liberation from Non-Profit Industrial Complex
Non-profits, as part of the non-profit industrial complex, often enact organizational and funding strategies that replicate the logic of the systems causing harm. We are committed to breaking free from this system and modeling liberating ways nonprofits can disrupt the status quo and create empowering, worker self-directed, accountable, sustainable organizations.
(Credit – these last 4 principles are based on ones from Resist – Thank you Resist for articulating these so well!)
Meet our Team!
Ana Sofia Cornelius
(she, hers, ella)
Ana Sofia Cornelius is a lifelong (40+ years) social justice activist. Originally from Venezuela, she has lived in Denver for 7 years. Ana is an Organizer with Denver Homeless Out Loud and their first full time staff person. Ana amalgamates lived experience, education, and work contributions. Ana has been homeless twice, as a youth and as a parent. Ana has worked as a service provider as a shelter worker (The Delores Project, St. John’s- Green Bay), as a case manager and case manager supervisor in housing ( The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Volunteers of America) and managed coordinated entry into housing for families for Denver Metro (OneHome Families system). Ana holds a B.A. in Democracy and Justice studies and 12 credits towards a Masters in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, graduating cum laude, and Phi Kappa Phi. Ana is married with 9 children and 4 grandchildren. Ana enjoys spending time in nature and engaging in ceremony.
Ben is 55 year resident Denver including 4 1/2 years living homeless on the streets. Ben was among the original founders of Denver Homeless Out Loud. Benjamin brings his lived experience and never having been an “activist” a perspective to ensure the message shared from the homeless community is not corrupted by political opportunists. Truth and data are important to the former Geology/Chemistry Major who spent some time working in the pharmaceutical industry in regulatory compliance. Ben has been in Denver so long he can remember when “The Bears” meant baseball at mile high stadium, the “Rockies” meant hockey at McNichols Sports arena, and the Basketballs were red, white and blue.
Terese has been active in working with grassroots social justice groups and community prefigurative politics for many years. She has a degree in philosophy. After spending months on the streets during the Occupy movement and then fighting the passage of the Urban Camping Ban, she joined with others and started DHOL in 2012. She has been committed to fighting for the rights, needs, and voice of people without housing ever sense. She believes in the direction of directly affected people and works for that direction from the homeless community to be heard and acted upon. She has been a gymnastics coach for many years. She loves spending time with her baby and watching him learn.
Lilly comes to DHOL after years of involvement with and study of radical, people-powered movements. They hold a bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies and Non-Profit Management, which led to their participation in and constant critique of the Nonprofit Industrial Complex. Lilly is most passionate about connecting with people, learning about them and their dreams, and plugging them into the revolution in the ways they can feel the best and create the most change. They love being the best parent to their cat, Milo, adventuring with their partner, dancing, and spending time in their vegetable garden.
How to contact us
Call us at (720) 940-5291
Email us at Info@denverhomelessoutloud.org