Who We Are, What We Do

The Father McKenna Center is a nonprofit social service agency in the Jesuit tradition serving the poor and homeless of Washington, DC.

Located in the basement of the former St. Aloysius Church (and currently on the campus of Gonzaga College High School), the Center operates four principal programs: 

A Day Drop-In Shelter for homeless men

A Hypothermia Program for homeless men (from November 1 – March 31)


A Food Pantry, providing supplemental groceries for approximately 200 families per month

An Immersion Service Learning Program for college and secondary students that exposes those young women and men to the issues of homelessness and poverty, in an effort to change minds and hearts about the people who are poor and homeless.


The Father McKenna Center was established as a ministry of St. Aloysius Parish in 1983 to carry on the legacy of Fr. Horace B. McKenna, SJ, considered by many people as Washington’s “priest to the poor.” (For more on Fr. McKenna, click here.)

In 2012 the Archdiocese of Washington announced the closing of St. Aloysius Parish. Gonzaga College High School affirmed that the Center was a vital part of life in the community, and wanted the Center to continue to operate at Gonzaga. The Center sought and was granted independent tax exempt status.

The Father McKenna Center is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization serving the poor and homeless. The FEIN is 46-1406974.

Mission, Vision and Values

The following was adopted by the Board of Directors in May 2015.


To accompany and care for families struggling with poverty and men facing homelessness by providing food, shelter, clothing and services to support their journey toward stability, productivity, meaning and hope, building upon the good works, ideals and values of Father Horace McKenna, S.J.


People who struggle with poverty and homelessness will have access to the resources they need to create and sustain lives of stability, productivity, meaning and hope.


We believe that all persons are made in the image and likeness of God and as such deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

We believe that people who struggle with poverty and homelessness deserve access to material, spiritual and support resources that will lead to stability and meaning in their lives.

We believe that the wider community should embrace and support people who struggle with poverty and homelessness to ensure access to the resources necessary to reduce or eliminate these conditions.