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A Path Out of Homelessness

Youth and young adults from across Colorado and the US seek their survival on Denver’s streets. According to the 2021-22 State of Homelessness Summary, 2,561 unaccompanied youths under the age of 24 years old reported experiencing homelessness in the Denver metro area.

Coffee that Changes Lives

Sure, the coffee is life changing. More importantly, it’s our way of doing something about Denver’s unhoused population.

Often viewed as societal outcasts, the reality is that these young people are consistently found to be either neglected, despondent, traumatized, or living with a mental health issue. Realizing the great need to serve and support this unique population, Dry Bones Denver was formed in 2001.

These Bones Live

Dry Bones is now a long-standing community of support among Denver’s unhoused teens and young adults. The nonprofit holds the simple but radical belief that companionship itself can be profoundly transformative. So alongside helping to meet emotional, spiritual, and physical needs, their true work is practicing the way of Jesus through building ongoing relationships that remind the invisible among us of their immeasurable worth and bright future. This takes place through various carefully designed offerings.

Dry Bones staff realized early on that most of their unhoused friends desperately desired a path out of homelessness. The lack of foundational life skills training and community support created immense barriers to joining traditional society.

The Journey Begins

In response, Purple Door Coffee was launched in 2012 with the objective of creating a self-sustaining social enterprise that would provide foundational job and life skills training in conjunction with strong community support.

PDC created an exceptional environment for job training and personal development for Dry Bones’ friends by first providing jobs in a small coffee shop. The enterprise then expanded this skill set into technical knowledge within the coffee roasting retail and wholesale business.

Breaking Fresh Ground

Over the past three years, PDC has fine-tuned its job training program and further operationalized the business model resulting in solid growth. Today, PDC has three full-time staff with extensive industry experience. This team passionately serves young people advancing through the program, typically four at a time.

PDC is on track to double its coffee production in 2022 by providing coffee to several hundred retail and wholesale customers, including individuals, businesses, and churches. This growth will soon enable PDC to hire more young people and further fulfill this great need. Truly, every ounce of coffee sold provides work for those exiting life on the streets.

Don’t Miss an Opportunity to Make a Difference

Your meaningful gift allows Purple Door Coffee to continue to be a place of holistic employment, teaching and support to young adults transitioning from street life to self-sufficiency.

Purple Door Coffee

Our Staff

Serving youth and young adults in the Dry Bones community who are working to exit the street life.

Tami Bonner

Director of Social Enterprise

Maria Grubb

Program Administrator

Houston Shearon, PHD

Coffee Operations Manager

Tami considers herself a Colorado native having lived here for the past 40 years. Before joining the Dry Bones/Purple Door team in 2020, Tami spent 20 years in the field of Association Management where she spent the last 5 years as the Executive Director of Windsor Gardens Retirement Community. She is grateful to have the opportunity to combine her knowledge of business with her passion for providing employment opportunities for people facing significant barriers to employment.

Maria comes to us as a recent graduate of Hope College where she completed a Bachelors Degree in Social Work. She has a passion for working with children and young adults using a strengths based approach to life change and mentorship. Maria also shares her time and talent with Denver Urban Semester.  

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Houston grew up in a family and community that prioritized service to others. Guided by his mother, school, and church leaders he was introduced into a life of working alongside community members to create spaces of opportunity for others. Inspired by this way of living, Houston pursued educational opportunities that would foster his ability to continue helping other people. He completed a bachelors and masters degree at Abilene Christian University before further studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. Houston worked in Gulu, Uganda promoting income generation and access to secondary education before doing peacebuilding work in Eastern DRC. This work led to future studies around access to justice in South Kivu, DRC and Ethiopia. Houston’s connection to coffee developed during travels in Ethiopia and turned into a decade long hobby. Through a long series of events, Houston landed in Denver, Colorado and became connected to Dry Bones through friends. Houston has a deep desire to walk alongside our employees as they become more aware of themselves, their surrounding community and most importantly as they discover their full potential.

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