February 15, 2016
BENEFITING: The Cooperative Downtown Ministries, Inc.
EVENT DATE: Feb 14, 2016
Since December 1983, The Firehouse Shelter has been operating as a men's homeless shelter. In our early years our primary goal was to meet the food, shelter and clothing needs of the homeless men in the Birmingham metro area. Over the past decade we have greatly expanded this original mission. Today, we offer affordable housing (at 15 different sites) to over 213 people every night and serve at least 300 men each day in some capacity (e.g. meals, clothing, addiction recovery, free legal counsel, transportation to mental health professionals, job interviews, art therapy, the YMCA and by offering GED and literacy tutoring). We are known as the area’s only homeless men's emergency shelter that does not have a specific time limit on the length of the stay. This means two things: first, the guests served by The Firehouse Shelter are more chronically homeless; and second, The Firehouse Shelter staff and volunteers are able to establish a deeper involvement with every man. This involvement leads to a level of trust that allows us to help each guest to discover the problems (and solutions!) that are the root of their homelessness. This in turn helps them begin the process of achieving their full potential. We achieve success by placing specific expectations on each individual including: •Meeting regularly with a case manager to determine what caused their homelessness. The Firehouse Shelter then networks with local service providers to bring all available community resources that assist the individual in ending their homeless episode. •Following a life plan established in conjunction with the Shelter case manager. •Working and cooperating with Shelter staff to access community resources. •Abiding by the Shelter’s rules and policies. •Making it to the Shelter each night on time for check-in. We offer the largest continuum of services to the homeless in Birmingham and the state of Alabama. Over 90% of our guests who enter the Shelter leave for housing, mental health or substance abuse treatment. To accomplish this with chronically homeless men (of whom make up 67% percent of our guests) takes time, and what we do best is to patiently and diligently walk with these men one step-at-a-time to re-weave them back into the fabric of society.