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The Cooperative Downtown Ministries, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Congregate Meals, Food, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, Human Services, Mental Health, Neighborhood Centers, Substance Abuse Treatment

Mission: The Cooperative Downtown Ministries opened The Old Firehouse Shelter on December 21, 1983 to minister to homeless men. The shelter is located in the historic Fire Station #6 of the Birmingham Fire Department on 15th Street and 3rd Avenue North. When the need for housing the homeless in the downtown area reached the crisis stage, the Greater Birmingham Ministries formed a Shelter Work Group. With the cooperation of the city and the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District, the vacant fire station was made available. From this Shelter Work Group, the Cooperative Downtown Ministries (CDM), a not-for-profit organization, was formed in May 1984. CDM, a coalition of churches representing eleven denominations, acts as the administrative body for The Old Firehouse Shelter.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

We have volunteered at the Firehouse Shelter for fifteen years. The staff are well organized and efficient when we plan. They are friendly and helpful. The experience is always positive. The men we serve are always polite and appreciative. The recent improvements in the kitchen and storage allow for better service to the guests. It is an opportunity we look forward to.


Rating: 4

I appreciate the way the Firehouse operates. The men who use it must abide by the rules that allow it to function effectively, yet the atmosphere is friendly and easy for the men. Volunteers like me always feel appreciated and welcomed. Some of the men work their way through kitchen duty, which can help prepare them for jobs in foodservice.


Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Firehouse Shelter for over 12 years serving meals to homeless men in the shelter. I am always amazed at the demeanor of the men; even though they may be at a troubled place in their lives, they are always so friendly and appreciative of the meals we provide, they are very willing to help out. Each person that comes through the food line thanks us for our support and that just makes it all worthwhile for me. The Shelter is very well run by staff and rules are strictly enforced which I think helps the men understand respect is always important, no matter the circumstances. Besides two hot meals a day and a warm place to sleep and shower, the Shelter also offers meetings of AA which helps provide a support network for those battling this disease. This is a great organization in a city that has many, many homeless people and they do their part to serve the needs of these men.

Board Member

Rating: 5

When first I agreed to serve on the Board for the Firehouse Shelter, I looked upon it as a chore or, at best, as a service to the community. To my surprise, it has become more of a personal growth opportunity. I have found that the leadership of the Board includes a group of very talented and experienced persons that have a very real passion for the services that are offered by the Shelter. The professional staff are talented and sincerely dedicated to their mission. I can way without question that this experience has been a high point in my life.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been working with Firehouse Shelter for many years now. It is an impressive organization that serves more homeless persons than any other facility in the state of Alabama. It keeps adminsitrative costs low while still providing the services necessary to assist people back on their feet and into permanent housing. It is a continuum of care facility providing extensive emergency, transitional and permanent housing, supportive services, Safe Haven, a soup kitchen, case management, etc. I am very proud to have been witness to this organization's inception. It needs a new campus, and I hope that we can eventually get the support of the business, church and governmental communties to make that happen.