Homeless Day Shelter

Day Shelter ProgramCortez_McDaniel

The Day Shelter is a “drop-in” program that welcomes guests into the Center to meet their immediate needs while providing case management and other support to assist our guests to identify the obstacles they face and to develop strategies to overcome those obstacles so that they can reclaim their lives.

The largest program of the Father McKenna Center is the Day Drop-In Shelter for homeless men. Each day more than 100 men come to the Center for one of many services provided.

Services available include the following: (each with a link to below)

The daily schedule is:

7:00 AM Doors open Men sign in and sign up for specialized services.
8:00 AM Coffee and Pastries served
8:30 AM Break fast served (typically cold cereal and milk, and occasionally eggs, pancakes or other offerings are made available
8:30 AM Specialized services available (Showers, Laundry, Telephone, Transportation, Case Management)
9:00 AM Computer Lab Open
9:30 AM Clothing Closet (Alternate Tuesdays)
Life Skills (Wednesdays)
Movie (Fridays)
11:00 AM Support Group for men experiencing homelessness
12:00 Noon Midday Meal served (full meal, including meat, starch, vegetable or salad, and sometimes a sweet)
1:00 PM AA / NA Meeting (daily Tuesday to Friday – no meeting on Monday)
1:00 PM Computer Training Program
Proposed Afternoon Program (Computer Lab, Job Skills Training, Job Search Training, Literacy Program, etc.)
3:00 PM Doors Close

Who We Serve

The Father McKenna Center serves more than 100 homeless men each day. In any week we will see approximately 250 unique men (in the course of a year more than 1,500 different men grace our door). The range in age from early 20’s to more than 70. We see a few veterans. We are experiencing a growth in the number of Hispanic men, although the overwhelming majority remain African American men. There are some who are well educated, while others do not have a high school diploma. We see men who struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, others suffer mental illness (ranging from depression and OCD to schizophrenia). Some are recent “home-comers” (home from prison). Many of the men have experienced dissolution of their family.

MealsMeals Program

The Center offers the men a cup of coffee and pastries at 8:00 am, followed by a breakfast of cold cereal and milk. The Center welcomes volunteers to assist in serving the meal. The Center welcomes groups of volunteers willing to prepare a more substantial breakfast (pancakes, eggs, etc.).

Midday meal is served to all men who attend the Men’s Support Group at 12 Noon. All meals are “scratch prepared.” Typical menus may include:

Roast Chicken Quarters Hot Dogs in Bun Chili con Carne Baked Fish Filet
Mashed Potatoes Baked Beans Rice or Pasta Roasted Potatoes
Green Beans Salad Corn Bread Collard Greens

The Center is always seeking volunteers to help serve the midday meal.


Other_ServicesOther Services Available as part of the Drop-In Program at the Father McKenna Center

Case Management The ultimate goal of our work at The Father McKenna Center is to help the men reach their full potential. Our approach is to meet each person where “he is at” and support him as he works toward a life of stability, productivity, meaning and hope.

Our case manager works with the men to assess their current circumstances, to identify the steps they need to take to reach their goals and to encourage them and challenge them to take those steps. Because the case management program is personalized and individualized, crafting a strategy for each guest, measures of success are not easily quantified. Success stories range from one man agreeing to take his medications on a regular basis to a different man finding a job and an apartment and thereby reclaiming his life and becoming a more productive member of society.

Support_GroupMen’s Support Group During a daily meeting our guests are challenged and encouraged as they strive to address and overcome the issues that they face. We believe that a man does not become homeless over night. He does not go from having a home, job or family in an instant. His life unravels over time. Thus, we recognize that it takes time to stitch that life back together. In addition each individual must be ready and willing to do the hard work (this may include introspection, healing and focus) to take each step back to a life of stability, productivity, meaning and hope.

Our work is focused on the support and services that each man needs to journey his path to a better life.

The Center Services Manager (Cortez McDaniel) is the facilitator of this session. He has developed a language outlining the general strategies needed to make progress that resonates with the guests. Using the model of a pyramid the process challenges the men to speak about their issues and their efforts to address those issues in terms of the pyramid and moving up the steps of the pyramid.

There are a regular group of alternate presenters who augment Mr. McDaniel’s presentations to the men each day. These presenters include: MJ Park, director of Little Friends of Peace; Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, the African-American fraternity of businessmen; and Rev. Donald Jenkins. Other members of the Father McKenna Center st
aff occasionally add their voices to the program.

ShowersShowers The Father McKenna Center offers our guests the opportunity to take a shower. Homeless men, especially those living on the street, need to maintain personal hygiene and the opportunity to take a shower is an important part of that regimen. This is another way the Father McKenna Center honors the dignity of our guests.

Laundry The Center offers guests the opportunity to have clothing washed during their visit to the Center. A member of the Center staff logs in a guest’s load of laundry, operates the machines and returns the completed load of laundry to the guest usually within two or three hours.

Telephone Many homeless men do nothave a cellphone or other means of communicating with family or job opportunities. The Father McKenna Center allows our guests to use a phone for business or emergency personal purposes.

MailMail To assist our guests, the Father McKenna Center will agree to serve as a mailing address. The Center holds mail for our guests for up to 60 days.

TransportationTransportation For the homeless men we serve getting to a doctor’s appointment or a job interview might be a daunting challenge. The Father McKenna Center offers bus tokens or Metro SmartCards to allow the men to reach a distant appointment or interview without having to walk several miles.

Computer Lab The Father McKenna Center has a small computer lab where our guests can check email, search for job postings, apply for a job or work on a resume. The lab is especially valuable for those who are part of our basic Computer Training program, offered in the afternoon.

ClothingClothing The Center maintains a “Clothing Closet” for men’s clothes. Every other Tuesday the Center offers the men in the Day Shelter program the opportunity to “purchase” clothing they need. In addition, the Clothing Closet offers our guests more formal clothing for a job interview or family event they need to attend (such as a funeral, etc.).

The Father McKenna Center graciously accepts contributions of men’s gently used casual clothing (larger sizes are most needed). We do not typically accept suits, dress slacks and sports coats. We also accept packages of new men’s underwear and socks. To make a gift of clothing, please call ahead (202-842-1112 x104) to alert us that you will be coming to deliver clothing.