Latest News

University of Denver hosts one-stop shop for resources for the homeless

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Project Homeless Connect is the the result of a partnership between the DU community, Denver’s Road Home and Mile High United Way

DENVER—Kristen Medina’s passion for serving the homeless began during her sophomore year in high school when she traveled to Seattle for a church mission trip to do inner city work. The experience so changed her, she knew she would continue serving the homeless during her college career.

The University of Denver (DU) sophomore psychology major recently put that commitment to action, spearheading an effort to raise more than $5,000 to support Project Homeless Connect 7 (PHC 7), a one-day event on April 24, at DU’s Ritchie Center.

PHC 7, a partnership between DU, Denver’s Road Home and the Mile High United Way,

serves as a one-stop shop for homeless individuals and families to access more than 60 Denver-area service organizations. Services will include basic medical care, food stamp benefits, veteran’s services, resumé assistance, legal advice, haircuts and basic hygiene products, among other services.

Medina worked with representatives from Sodexo, the campus foodservice provider, to allow students to donate unused meals from their campus meal plans to offset the cost of providing meals for clients and volunteers at PHC 7.

“As a student with a meal plan, I know that many students have many extra meal swipes and meal cash left over at the end of the quarter—they don’t carry over, but simply disappear,” says Medina. “So why not use our extra meals to provide meals for other people who aren’t guaranteed three meals a day?”

Working with students from the University’s Pioneer Leadership Program and the Living and Learning Communities, she spent two weeks collecting donations from students. The $5087.63 raised will be used to offset the event catering cost, freeing up resources to provide additional transportation for clients to the event from local homeless shelters.

“The great thing about the DU community, is that everyone really rallies around PHC,” says Medina. “Students were excited and more than willing to donate anything and everything that they had.”

Project Homeless Connect is just one facet of the City of Denver’s 10 year plan to end homelessness. Denver’s Road Home began in October 2003 in response to an increasing rise in homeless persons in Denver and a mounting increase in public safety concerns.

According to Denver’s Road Home, Denver is home to more 3,900 homeless men, women and children, and the city spends more than $70 million annually on shelter, healthcare and other stop-gap services. Many are members of families with children and many who are homeless for the first time may not be aware of the network of local services available to them. Project Homeless Connect acts as the entry point for other critical services.

Last May, DU hosted Project Homeless Connect 6, the second time the university had hosted the event. With the support of more than 800 DU volunteers the day of the event and another 250 who helped with planning efforts leading up to the event, 680 homeless adults and 139 children—including 64 family units—received a wide range of services.

Denver has held six previous Project Homeless Connect events since the program’s inception. The inaugural Project Homeless Connect Denver was held on Dec. 8, 2005. Events have been hosted by the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, Denver Human Services, the University of Denver, and the Broncos Wives at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

“Given the economic climate of today, there has never been a more important time to help the homeless,” says Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. “This economy requires now, more than ever, that our community work together to continue our commitment to ensuring that every homeless man, woman and child has an alternative to living life on the streets. We are grateful to the hundreds of students, staff and faculty who have for the third time come to answer that call.”

Participating sponsors include Regis University, Sodexo, Xerox, Kaladi Coffee, Qdoba Mexican Grill and Suncor Energy. The event will be held from 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 24 in the Ritchie Center on the University of Denver campus, 2240 E. Buchtel Blvd. Volunteer opportunities still exist. For more information or to volunteer, visit


The University of Denver (, the oldest private university in the Rocky Mountain region, enrolls approximately 11,409 students in its undergraduate and graduate programs. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Denver as a Research University with high research activity.

Contact: Jordan Ames

Telephone: (303) 871-2781


Comments are closed.