Work for the Homeless

Project Give Us Dirty Work began in August 2017. Since then, employers in our program have given jobs to over twelve (12) individuals.

Jobs ranged from digging post holes to working in a restaurant kitchen. An article on this project appeared in the Durango Herald on September 16, 2017. “Give Us Dirty Work offers the homeless employment” by Mary Shinn.

“Employers agree to pay a worker directly for a certain number of hours, and the Give Us Dirty Work program ensures that someone arrives to work and provides supervision.
“For example, the Powerhouse Science Center agreed to employ someone for 10 weeks for a few hours a week to clean and paint and do other tasks, said Anja Davis, director of community engagement and education for the nonprofit. We just thought it would be a great way to give back,” she said.”

As of this date, twelve (12) job opportunities were listed by downtown business owners, private homeowners, and property managers/owners:

  • 4 persons worked for one (1) employer;
  • 7 persons filled nine (9) other jobs;
  • 2 individuals worked the two (2) additional jobs.

Powerhouse Science Center job involved one (1) individual with weekly jobs through November 10th.

The majority of job offers came through blue flyers originally distributed throughout town. Wages paid directly to workers started at $10/hour; $12.00/hour offered by two employers.

Contact us for further information.

Winter Critical Supply Bank for the Homeless

“Thirty-five percent of the Homeless are not sheltered…”

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Thank you, BIG AGNES!

Big Agnes! We appreciate the generous donation od several sleeping bags and mats!

Shelters are already full to capacity! Winter in Durango has approximately 40 persons in makeshift tents who camp the arroyos and the woods. For those individuals who call Durango ‘home’ there is a high risk of hyperthermia and fatality.

One life lost is enough–two lives is unconscionable! We don’t want another person to die for lack of warmth and the dampness of clothing through inadequate sleeping bags and tents.

Your generous Tax Deductible Gift of $10 or more will assist in the purchase of winter camping gear. We need approximately ten (10) each of camping sleeping bags, tents and tarps rated at 10 to SubZero DegreesF!

Go online to contribute to Community Compassion Outreach Program and mark your Gift “Critical Supply”. Click to go to CCOP Giving.

Fort Lewis College Engineering Design & Practice Engr 315 Spring 2018.

Spring 2018 homeless shelter study course at Fort Lewis College


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On November 13, 2017, Community Compassion Outreach Program (CCOP) of Durango Christian Church met with Professor Don May of the Engineering Department at Fort Lewis College (FLC) in Durango, Colorado. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the details of the Humanitarian House International “HHI House” for the Homeless. The HHI House is one of two or three best designs of the Engineering 315 junior class to be studied by students.

SWColorado Homeless Collaborative
From left to right, Professor Don May, PhD., P.E.; Stuart Ohlson, AIA; Pastor Jon Alsdorf (background); Bob Bennett; and, Sara Carver (CCOP volunteer).

Proposed transitional shelter for La Plata County’s Homeless

The HHI House is proposed as a transitional shelter to provide people experiencing homelessness in La Plata County a dignified, safe, and comfortable space for a short period of time.

Originally intended for equatorial locations outside the United States, Architect Stuart Ohlson of HHI in Denver redesigned the house for colder climates. Maintaining the HHI PVC Tube framing, Ohlson is using structural insulated panels (SIPs) rather than a canvas or plastic membrane. The roof is designed to be made of galvanized steel insulated with SIPs and at a 1:1 pitch for reduction of snow loading.

Modified HHI PVC Tube & Insulated Panel Shelter
A galvanized steel roof modifies this image. This photo shows the existing version of the homeless shelter we are promoting.

Fort Lewis College engineering design & practice study will determine the integrity of the design for our region of Colorado, while offering visual observations of snow loading during Winter 2018. Community Compassion Outreach Program and Humanitarian House International joint venture is to offer the HHI House to the homeless population in La Plata County.

Instead of tents, the Fort Lewis College Engineering Department Collaborative with CCOP and HHI will provide options for a more dignified and safe transitional housing. Competing with Tiny Homes, the Collaborative offers separate sleep spaces with bunk beds in three (3) sizes of the HHI House.

The more substantial large HHI House will be built by students using simple hand tools and according to instructions provided by Ohlson, HHI’s architect. It measures approximately 178-square feet and sleeps six (6) people in three sleep spaces that holds bunk beds; and, the HHI House has room for living quarters, kitchenette, bath/shower. However, kitchen and bathroom appliances are not included.

SWShelter4Homeless Interior
Small (2 persons); Medium (4 persons); Large (6 persons).



Barriers for low income workers for transitional shelters

Low-income people face significant barriers when accessing FEMA’s transitional shelter assistance…

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), after a disaster low income people face significant barriers “when accessing FEMA’s transitional shelter assistance.” Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) helps the most vulnerable individuals and families after a disaster.

….. “DHAP is designed to help those low income households that face significant barriers accessing FEMA’s tran-sitional shelter assistance. Hotels participating in FEMA’s transitional shelter often charge daily “resort” fees, require security deposits, and require that displaced households have credit cards – all of which are barriers for low income households that have already depleted any savings that they may have had and that are often unbanked or under-banked. Some hotels have turned away displaced families with hotel vouchers. Without DHAP, displaced, low income families often have little choice but to move into uninhabitable or overcrowded homes, stay at shelters, or sleep in their cars or on the streets. There are numerous accounts of individuals that were unable to access FEMA’s transitional housing assistance that later needed emergency hospital care after returning to mold-infested homes. Families have set up “tent cities” because they had no place to go.”



Tiny homes have been used for many years in camps for the homeless in parts of the U.S. — however, in an emergency, Tiny Homes cannot be set up as rapidly as needed.

The HHI House for the Homeless has many advantages for transitional & emergency shelters.

Community Compassion Outreach Program (CCOP) and Humanitarian House International, in collaboration with Fort Lewis College Engineering Department is seeking a viable solution. Read more.

Contact us for details of Fort Lewis College Engineering Design & Practice (Engr 315) Spring 2018.

HHI House for the Homeless (HHI House)

Shelter for the Homeless Collaborative of SW Colorado

In collaboration with Fort Lewis College (FLC) and Humanitarian House International (HHI) for a temporary and short-term Shelter for the Homeless—Community Compassion Outreach Program (CCOP), a Durango Christian Church initiative, is considering the HHI House for the Homeless (HHI House). The goal is to provide a dignified, safe shelter to prevent a person from living in the outdoors.

CCOP and HHI advocates for people in poverty and homelessness in and beyond La Plata County, Colorado, for adequate shelter. We believe this shelter is a viable solution for ending homelessness in the USA, while addressing affordable housing for 7.5 million individuals and families in Poverty (a single most cause of homelessness).

Mission Statement

Our mission is to assist individuals and families to survive and exit homelessness — One House At A Time!

Scope of Project

Shelter for the Homeless Collaborative SW Colorado is formed by advocates for determining structural and aesthetic criteria of a new temporary-and-short-term shelter for individuals and families of Homelessness and Poverty.

Humanitarian House International, a 501(c)(3) organization, provides refugee shelters in other countries. Partnering with HHI brings solutions and promises for our organization (CCO) to assist persons to survive homelessness.

Architect Stuart Ohlson designed the shelter for equatorial and warmer climates. When “Donna Mae” Baukat, executive director of CCOP, researched shelters for a proposed homeless camp in Durango, Colorado, Ohlson introduced the HHI House.

SWShelter4Homeless Interior
Small (2 persons); Medium (4 persons); Large (6 persons).

The HHI House will be studied by students of FLC Engineering Design and Practice class (Engr 315) and faculty, led by Don May, Ph.D., P.E., Professor of the Engineering Department.

On January 8, 2018, the Junior Class will commence design studies in the first half of the semester — in accordance with the requirements of CCOP for the project, and an expanded scope of HHI to satisfy the course curriculum of FLC. During the second half of the course, students will build and test the structure. Studies and evaluation will be conducted on the Fort Lewis College Campus in Durango, CO USA.

Goals and Future Plans

The purpose of this engineering study is to tap into the creative energy of the FLC engineering students to offer solutions in the form of temporary and short-term shelters, both locally and nationwide. On a Global level, the HHI House will respond to natural disasters and emergency shelter needs.

These shelters are intended for an organized, self-governed, democratic, safe ‘village’ — designed to bring dignity and pride to people who are trying to exit poverty and homelessness. CCOP has completed its research of successful villages for the homeless in various parts of the country.


Additionally, we are working to find innovative programs to benefit Durango’s homeless ‘villagers’ with human and health services, mentorship, and management oversight.

An organized, self-governed village for people experiencing homelessness is the only dignified solution to assist them toward self-sufficiency!

Donations for Materials Welcome!

This study project requires funds for materials of the building to be set up on the campus of Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. The Shelter for the Homeless Collaborative of Southwest (SW) Colorado (SWShelter4Homeless) appreciate your support in kind and with your generous GIFT.

Please help us with your generous contribution to SWShelter4Homeless

Every dollar counts! Thank you!

Let your policy-makers know that you’ve found a solution to shelter the homeless and people in poverty in your community!

10 Unit Site Plan
Prototype Village for the Homeless is proposed for Durango, CO.