Jordan and Ashley came to Samaritan House Fort Collins in crisis last year. With their little daughter in hand, they begged staff to ensure she was safe while they overcame a battle with homelessness and addiction.
Staff immediately served them dinner and began helping them on their journey to stability. Nine months later the couple is sober, found an apartment, with Jordan working a full-time job. They also joined a local Christian church and got married in November 2021.
“What I can say about all this is the Lord was the first person who brought us to the Samaritan House,” Jordan shares.
Samaritan House Fort Collins is a part of Catholic Charities in Larimer County, offering shelter, food, clothing, extended case management, diapers and baby supplies, as well as senior services. The shelter is the only in the county that serves women and families experiencing homelessness.
The underlying approach is to treat each person with respect, explained Regional Director Joe Sarr.
“Life is hard, but the experiences of the last few years have been particularly challenging for those on the margins,” he shares. “The reality is there's nobody who comes in our door that isn't precious to Jesus himself. And we try to treat them the way that we feel he would want us to treat them. This includes to do what Christ did and meet them right where they are.”
Increasingly because of residual effects from the COVID pandemic and economic uncertainty, the shelter is seeking a sharp rise in families desperate for help. The numbers are staggering. Each month over a six-month average, Samaritan House has seen a 400% increase in family participants compared to a year ago in June.
That help offered was the kind the couple needed to start their lives over again and provide a good home for their 2-year-old daughter. A drug addiction controlled their lives for years and drove them to the streets. After having their daughter, they continued to struggle until child protective services removed their daughter into foster care. It was devastating to the couple.
“The drugs were pretty much everything to us,” Ashley shares. “And now we know that it's not everything. There's so much more to life.”
At Samaritan House, the couple received safe shelter, nutritious meals and case management to help them begin a job and housing search. The structured program and requirements to regain custody of their daughter helped them stay sober. They call the staff and shelter a God-send.
They eventually found an apartment in Fort Collins through a rapid-housing program and Jordan was hired for a full-time job.
“We’ve got a lot of great things going for us,” Ashley shares. “We now know who we are and right from wrong. Samaritan House in Fort Collins was definitely a stepping stone for us, not only getting into extended shelter but also holding us accountable for our sobriety, which helped with our daughter. We have custody back of her. She's back in the home. She's loving it.”
Now they feel with their lives on track they can achieve anything. Their daughter makes it all worth it.
“When I see her, I just have a big smile on my face,” Jordan says. “She's my pride and joy and everything.”