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Burnes Center

Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness

Our Mission


Since the Burnes Center is one of Colorado's expert organizations on poverty and homelessness, the mission of the Burnes Center is to educate and partner with policymakers, practitioners and the public on issues of poverty, housing and homelessness to transform the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.


Through the work of the Center, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are empowered to live full lives of their choosing.


  • We believe that everyone deserves a home and access to needed services.
  • We seek the voice and contributions of individuals experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness, in all aspects of our work.
  • We engage in data-driven research, policy and practice.
  • We commit to sharing our learnings with the community and others in the field to improve the lives of our neighbors.


The Burnes Center at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver was established in 2016 by Founder Don Burnes to serve as a think tank for the state, region, and nation on poverty and homelessness. The successor to the Burnes Institute created in 2013, the Center recognizes that poverty and homelessness remain unsolved; the Center approaches these issues with a unique lens that focuses on evaluation, research, and policy.