The Delores Project provides safe, comfortable shelter and personalized services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals experiencing homelessness. We also work to end homelessness by advocating for housing solutions.
All individuals have the community of support and housing stability they need to reach their potential.
Our model of service is one of respect, hospitality and dignity for each guest.
We support those we serve without judgement.
We believe in the potential of each individual and their right to self-determination.
We are good stewards of our financial and human resources.
We value the diversity of our guests, staff, board, and volunteers, and we are a model of inclusiveness.
We believe the community is strengthened when it cares for those with the fewest resources.
DELORES BIG BOY
The Delores Project is named after Delores Big Boy, a Lakota woman and long-time Denver resident who experienced homelessness and died due to complications from physical illness shortly before her forty-fourth birthday. Delores was known for her big heart and desire to nurture and care for others. When Delores was housed, she would often have several people in need of shelter staying in her apartment each night and her mentality was to care for as many people as she could with whatever she had. Delores passed away in 1999 and in the winter of 2000, The Delores Project opened in her name, with her values for hospitality and acceptance of others as the foundation for the new shelter. The staff of Delores wanted to create a space that allowed for everyone to have dignity and comfort. A hallmark of the shelter at that time was the use of handmade quilts on each bed. The quilts, crafted and donated by volunteers, were meant to help guests feel at home, as much as possible, during their stay in the shelter. Over the years, hospitality and dignity have continued to be the core values of The Delores Project and the way that Delores’s spirit has lived on.
When we opened our new building at Arroyo Village in 2019, we invited Delores’ family to the grand opening celebration. Many came from different states and graciously offered a blessing for our building and gifted us two Star Quilts. One is hanging in the Shelter Dining Room and one is in our supportive housing lobby, along with photos of Delores. It is an honor that the family chose to gift these to us in support of our work and our community. The Star Quilt symbolizes the Morning Star – the last and brightest star on the eastern horizon before dawn. The Morning Star represents a link between those who are living and those who have passed away. It also represents the values of honor and generosity. We display them to honor our namesake, Delores Big Boy as well as others who have passed on along the way. They remind us to honor and keep alive the spirit of generosity and hospitality that has always been the Delores way.
We honor and acknowledge that TDP is located on the ancestral homelands of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute nations, the original inhabitants of the land now known as Denver, Colorado. These Nations and over 40 Native Nations including The Lakota, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Shoshone, and more, were the original caretakers of the land, water, plants, and animals of the land on which we gather today. We acknowledge the forced removal and displacement of Indigenous people from this territory and others and respect the many diverse Nations and people still connected to this land. We give thanks to all the Indigenous ancestors of this place, including our namesake, Delores Big Boy, her family, and their ancestors.
To learn more about the history of the land The Delores Project resides on and why land matters, please visit https://native-land.ca/ .
The Delores Project is the largest single provider of shelter and services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals in metro Denver, providing 50 shelter beds year round, and a minimum of an additional 10 cots during colder months or times of extreme need. Without minor children, the needs of this population are largely unrecognized. Across metro Denver more than 650 women and transgender individuals experienced homelessness on any given night, according to the 2015 Metro Denver Homeless Initiative Point in Time Study. Including the beds at The Delores Project, only approximately 200 beds are regularly available for this vulnerable population, leaving at best more than 450 without safe reliable shelter during the overnight hours.
The Delores Project is widely recognized as being a shelter provider that implements HUD recommended best practices in serving those people experiencing homelessness who identify across the transgender spectrum. We have been respectfully serving transgender individuals since our founding in 2000 and are proud to be a place of safety and dignity for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
The Delores Project provides welcoming, low-barrier shelter and services for unaccompanied women and transgender individuals during times of homelessness. We believe that hospitality, respect, and regard for the dignity of each individual lay the groundwork for forming positive relationships leading to lasting change. Learn more about our programs and our impact.
We believe that in extending true hospitality, our guests will begin to believe that they are worthy of our care and regard. To this end, we provide services with as few requirements and barriers as possible. For example, guests are not required to present identification or immediately commit to a long term program. We welcome each guest, as they are, with no immediate expectations that they must “fix” their lives as quickly as possible; people are not broken.
At the Delores Project, we hold hope for people who have temporarily lost their capacity for confidence. We believe that change comes for each person in their own time and in their individual way, and that our guests deserve choice when planning for their future. In our programs we collaborate with our guests as they identify individual needs and goals we can support them in meeting. We believe in the value of recognizing mistakes or poor choices as places from which to learn and move forward. Everyone deserves second, third and more chances to recover and reclaim their lives.
Each year, The Delores Project serves nearly 450 individuals and 20,000 nights of shelter through our Emergency and Extended Stay shelter programs. To learn more about our welcoming shelter programs, please visit our programs page.