Our mission is to assist people experiencing homelessness in the Davis community to obtain shelter, housing, and supportive services.
Who We Serve
HEART is committed to providing shelter and necessary services to homeless members of the Davis community. We are not a clean and sober program, and do not discriminate against anyone who needs help. People may end up on the streets for a variety of reasons, and we strive to provide a warm, safe, and non-judgmental environment for them to reach their goals and get closer to having reliable housing.
HEART of Davis began as the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter (IRWS) of Davis. Sprouting from a dream amongst a small group of Davis residents, the IRWS planning group began meeting in fall 2005. IRWS was formed as a response to the growing need for emergency shelter during the winter months in Davis and grew into a community-based effort. At first, it was a collaboration of congregations from various faith traditions. This cooperation enabled the member congregations to provide cold-weather shelter and hospitality on a rotating basis to persons who were homeless in the Davis community.
At the time the IRWS was being considered, there were only two emergency shelter beds available to meet the needs of approximately 120 individuals living homeless in Davis. The shelter first opened its doors in November 2007, offering up to 25 shelter beds to anyone in need. In its first year of operation, the IRWS had only 9 congregations and community groups involved. Over the next 7 years, the IRWS had grown to include over 50 groups and as many as 1500 volunteers each season. During the 2018-19 season, 10 congregations sheltered 114 individuals.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a new challenge for homeless community members. The rotating shelter model was no longer feasible, leading IRWS to consider other options. Out of this uncertainty came the Davis Emergency Shelter Program (DESP), which provides transitional housing for those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. With the establishment of DESP and the planned expansion of IRWS to include more programs, IRWS of Davis was renamed HEART of Davis. This new name was intended to reflect the rapid growth of IRWS as an organization, now equipped to help the homeless community in many more ways.