Join us for an evening of dinner, dancing and fundraising at the Sundeck. Aspen chefs will compete for the best chicken wings in town. Entertainment provided by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and DJ Dylan. Silent and live auctions items will be up for grabs. All proceeds benefit The Aspen Homeless ShelterFeed My SheepLift-Up and Stepping Stones.

Thank you to our partners:




Gather together to usher in the holiday season with the 4th annual Tree Lighting Celebration at The Little Nell. This family-friendly event is open to all guests and community members. Enjoy complimentary refreshments, carolers and photos with Santa Claus. A full cookie buffet from the pastry kitchen will be offered along with The Nell’s famous hot cocoa (which can be “supercharged” with your choice of liqueurs from our cash bar). We’ll also accept socks and operating fund donations for the Aspen Homeless Shelter. Please join us in lighting two trees and ushering in the holiday season.


News In Brief
Aspen Daily News Staff Report
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Coat and sleeping bag drive
The Aspen Homeless Shelter, in collaboration with J. Crew, is collecting winter coats and sleeping bags for people in need.

Drop off gently used coats or sleeping bags at the J. Crew at the Mountain store, 205 S. Mill St., near the corner of Hopkins, and receive a coupon good for 25 percent off a purchase.

The response to the local coat and bag drive has been so strong that J. Crew increased its coupon from 20-25 percent, which is good until Nov. 19.

“As the Aspen nights get longer and colder, homeless men and women need our help the most,” according to a statement by Vince Savage, executive director of the Aspen Homeless Shelter.

“With the need on the rise this year we hope you reach deep this holiday season and share your precious resources with those who are less fortunate,” it continued.

The shelter is also now accepting cash donations for the upcoming winter season. Checks may be mailed to: Aspen Homeless Shelter, 405 Castle Creek Road, Suite 12, Aspen, 81611.

For more information, call 925-1342.


Winter Coat & Sleeping Bag Drive @ 

at the Mountain
benefits the Aspen Homeless Shelter
NOW receive 25% off
NOW – November 19


The response to our announcement of our partnership with J.CREW to collect

  • gently used coat(s) 
  • sleeping bag(s) 
  • donations to the Aspen Homeless Shelter

has been so strong and so positive that J.CREW offered to increase its discount from 20% off your total purchase to 25% off! 

Thank you J.CREW!
As the Aspen nights get longer and colder, homeless men and women need our help the most. Aspen knows how to support a worthy cause, and the Aspen Homeless Shelter is very grateful for the support we have received over the years.

With the need on the rise this year we hope you reach deep this holiday season and share your precious resources with those who are less fortunate!

Please make a donation now for the upcoming winter season!

With sincere gratitude,
Dr. Vince Savage, Executive Director, Aspen Homeless Shelter


benefits Aspen Homeless Shelter
participants receive 20% off
November 13-19 

We are looking to the upcoming holiday season with much gratitude including our newly forged partnership with J. Crew at the Mountain to provide much needed winter coats and operating funds for the upcoming winter season to help local homeless men and women make it through the coldest months.

Bring in your gently worn coat(s) or make a donation to the Aspen Homeless Shelter’s fund raising drive and receive 20% off your total purchase. All coats and contributions will go directly to the Aspen Homeless Shelter.

The Shelter operates on a bare-bones budget, relying on in-kind donations (such as coats) as well as monetary donations for general operating expenses. With partnerships such as these, we are able to raise awareness about homelessness right here in Aspen as well as provide the crucial basics to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Are there REALLY homeless people in Aspen?
In short…YES! Believe it or not, there are over 150 unique individuals we serve per year. We received nearly 8,500 visits last year from homeless individuals for meals, showers, laundry, job searches, general assistance and overnight stays. This year we see the numbers rising! AHS offers a Day Center 365 days a year and the overnight shelter operates during the coldest months of the year.

Who are they?
Most of our clients are locals, born in Aspen Valley Hospital, graduated from Aspen High School, or people who have lived here for decades and fallen on hard times. Each person that is cared for saves our community important resources in unnecessary emergency room visits, law enforcement interventions, and other emergency measures.

The Aspen community knows how to rally and support a cause and the Homeless Shelter is very grateful for the support we have received over the years. We hope you reach deep this holiday season and share your precious resources with those who are less fortunate!

With deep gratitude,
Dr. Vince Savage, Executive Director, Aspen Homeless Shelter


THURSDAY, AUGUST 25 | 6 PM | $95++ |


Join us for a BBQ competition and community fundraiser featuring talented chefs from Aspen’s top restaurants. Each chef will showcase their best BBQ and let you be the judge. Admission includes food, drinks and dancing. As a benefit for the Aspen Homeless Shelter, all profits and live and silent auction proceeds will go directly to the organization. View full menu.

Meet The BBQ Cook-Off Chefs:
Chefs Jim Butchart & Andrew Helsley – Aspen Skiing Company Lamb
Chef Keith Theodore – element 47 – Bison
Chef JD Baldridge – Ajax Tavern – Pork
Chef Rob Zack – Hotel Jerome – Beef
Chef Jeff Casagrande – bb’s – Pork
Chef Barclay Dodge – Bosq – Duck
Chef Taylor Wolters – Rustique – Pork
Chef Will Nolan – Eight K – Pork
Chef Jake Burkhardt – Aspen Kitchen – Lamb

Private tables for $5000++ are available for up to 8 people, including wine, family style dinner service and tableside visits from the participating chefs. Purchase your tickets now.


The Aspen Homeless Shelter’s mission is to keep people alive, safe and fed while they are homeless. Each person that is cared for saves our community important resources in unnecessary emergency room visits, law enforcement interventions, and other emergency measures. Year-round, AHS offers a day center with amenities most take for granted, such as showers, phones and food, and also provides job counseling and case management.

Cross Currents-The Little Nell and Aspen Homeless Shelter


The Little Nell is hosting a benefit dinner for the Aspen Homeless Shelter on Saturday, May 14 with food from Biju’s Little Curry Shop of Denver.

Guests are May Selby from The Little Nell Hotel, Vince Savage of the Aspen Homeless Shelter and Rabbi David Segal.

To learn more about the Aspen Homeless Shelter, click here. To learn more about The Little Nell, click here.





SATURDAY, MAY 14 | 6 PM – 9 PM | $47++

get your tickets today at


Back by popular demand, Biju’s Little Curry Shop, based in Denver and Boulder, will take over element 47 once again for a special, one-night only dinner. Chef Biju Thomas, founder & owner, will prepare a custom 3-course menu featuring authentic Indian food. The inspiration for his menu stems from the food he grew up eating in Kerala, India and his passion for competitive cycling. He noticed that many cyclists and other endurance athletes relied on packaged foods for energy, and weren’t receiving enough nutrition. He then dedicated himself to cooking fresh meals for professional athletes, using only local ingredients. Biju wanted to share his energizing cuisine with his community, which led to the conception of the Little Curry Shop.

aspen homeless shelter donationsDonations will be accepted – via cash or check – during the dinner for the Aspen Homeless Shelter. Your donation will provide meals, shelter, laundry, showers and job hunting assistance to community members in need. The Aspen Homeless Shelter’s mission is to keep people alive, safe and fed while they    are homeless by helping them access resources to meet their needs, and assist in the transition to stability and self-reliance.

For additional details and reservations, please contact element 47 at 970.920.6330 or

Vince Savage, Aspen Homeless Center’s director and resident philosopher

Vince Savage’s office isn’t exactly a portrait of neat and orderly. Post-it notes are peppered about, a DVD of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is in plain view on a bookshelf, a framed photograph of the Dalai Lama hangs beneath a shelf of files, binders and boxes. Relics, books, coffee mugs, papers, notebooks and other items fill in the rest of the area. Bare spaces are a scarce commodity.

Some people couldn’t, or wouldn’t, work in such cluttered conditions. Having a tidy office wouldn’t suit Savage, either, even though the humanistic psychologist subscribes to structure.

“I always find it ironic that a guy like me — a self-styled and counterculture person — can help people walk the straight and narrow,” he said. “Through structure is freedom. If you can live by the rules, you can have a lot more freedom.”

Savage’s office is akin to a mini museum of psychology theories and practices, spiritual and religious texts, self-actualization and a touch of pop culture — from a pseudo driver’s license of Walter White, the meth-making chemistry teacher in “Breaking Bad,” to a poster of Doc Savage, the pulp magazine character from the 1930s and ’40s. That’s also Savage’s nickname among professionals and users of the Aspen Homeless Shelter. With a Ph.D from the University of Northern Colorado in counseling psychology, he likes to play it up.

vms.aspentimes“I’m pretty egomaniacal,” joked Savage, now in his 60s. “I need to see my picture.”

Savage’s road to the homeless shelter has been filled with social work, activism and academia. The son of an investigative reporter who was a professor of journalism at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, Savage grew up in a college town that shaped his early views on life.

As a teenager during his counter-culture hippie days, he worked for Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. When he attended the University of Indiana, one of Savage’s roommates and fraternity brothers was Mark Spitz, the nine-time gold-medalist Olympic swimmer. Savage’s travels took him to the Middle East in 1967, where he provided aid after the Arab–Israeli war, also known as the Six-Day War. He saw the horror of war and decided, “This isn’t politics. This is psychology.”

Savage has worked with drug addicts in the Canadian Arctic, as well as those in Aspen in the 1980s at a rehabilitation center for alcoholics and habitual users of cocaine. He also taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

In 2004, Savage became director of Valley Information and Assistance, which was funded by the now-defunct Aspen Valley Medical Foundation. The purpose of Valley Information and Assistance was to help people who had addiction and health problems. Valley Information eventually spun off into the Aspen Homeless Shelter, a nonprofit with Savage at the helm. After the medical foundation dismantled, the homeless shelter was left on its own to find funding.

Savage had to focus on raising funds to keep the shelter solvent, which it remains today. Its budget last year was $295,000; this year it’s $308,000.

Its services include day center at the Health and Human Services Center by the hospital. There, homeless guests can stay warm and enjoy hot meals, some of which are provided by The Little Nell. During most of the winter, they can stay overnight at St. Mary Church. And, most recently, the Aspen Community Church opened its doors to the homeless, who can stay there overnight until the end of the month.

Savage said he regularly hears from people who are surprised Aspen has a homeless population. The homeless shelter aids some 20 people, but not all of Aspen’s homeless population uses it.

The shelter’s clients have been authorities, stockbrokers and bankers. Others are just normal people who made poor life choices. Some are plagued by mental-health issues and substance-abuse problems, Savage said.

But a common thread among them, Savage explained, is that most have strong ties to Aspen.

“One thing people don’t understand is that a majority of them are locals,” he said. “Our people are born in Aspen, graduated Aspen High School or have been around here for decades.”

Savage can be strict — people under the influence of drugs or alcohol aren’t allowed in the Day Center and can’t use the church’s overnight services.

“There’s always this tension between the bleeding-heart liberals, the well-meaning people and the people like me who see the value of structure and limits,” he said. “I’m as big a bleeding-heart liberal as anybody, but I’ve also see the damage people can have with total freedom. Sometimes they have to pull up their own bootstraps.”

There was the time Savage bought a van for Jane Patterson and Michael O’Gara, two Aspen transients who ran into a plethora of legal issues and problems in the 2000s. Savage caught grief for it; the pair’s drinking issues had been well chronicled in the local newspapers, and here Savage was, buying them a vehicle to drink and drive in. But Savage felt they needed a push-start. The two now live in Denver. O’Gara has sobered up and is living on his own, while Patterson resides at the Beacon Place, a transitional living quarters for homeless residents.

Savage said Aspen needs emergency transition housing for those who are abused, homeless or have addiction problems, among other people. He envisions it as a multifaceted service.

“You can’t put the Response victims (of domestic abuse) with the homeless or the drunks,” he said. “But we’ve got to have a multifaceted thing. It could be done.”

Savage, who also runs Beaver Lake Retreat in Marble, said the Aspen Homeless Shelter’s core mission is to provide safety and security.

“We don’t want anybody in Pitkin County to succumb to the elements,” he said. “And working with this group is tremendously enriching because of the personalities of these folks. They’ve got survival instincts, and they’ve got their own sense of status and belonging.”