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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

3 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.