Helping more neighbors than ever

“Every day, Jesus walks through these doors,” said Bishop Jorge Rodríguez when he blessed Phase Two of the Samaritan House renovation project in 2021.

In the past several months, many more families than usual have walked through the doors of Catholic Charities’ ministries and been welcomed like Jesus. As the volume of people seeking shelter and food assistance has sharply increased, our entire team has leaned into its mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to the poor and those in need.

Samaritan House in Denver, as well as Samaritan House Fort Collins and Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley, have welcomed more people than ever who need safe shelter, nutritious food and support.

“We’ve seen this influx for months now,” said Joshua Zielinski, program manager of the family floor at Samaritan House in downtown Denver. “We didn’t exactly know how we’d make it work, but we do know our mission which is why we jumped at this chance to help more families. We knew we’d have to make this work.”

The teams in Denver, Fort Collins and Greeley have reworked buildings to temporarily house more families than ever before, including reconfiguring women’s dorms, opening up common areas and even utilizing conference rooms and offices as spaces that families can stay together. Partitions have been constructed, temporary curtains have been hung and the staff has worked overtime to make sure that all who come through our doors are treated like the Holy Family on a cold night.

“We were able to take some pointers from our teams in Fort Collins and Greeley. We are actively working on all sorts of situations, as all families are different. We are piloting the conversion of some conference rooms into dorms for single fathers with their children,” said Zielinski.

Samaritan House isn’t the only Catholic Charities’ ministry experiencing greater need. Little Flower Assistance Center in Aurora has seen a dramatic increase as well.

“The need at our Center has nearly tripled since September of 2022. There are individuals with full-time jobs, those who didn’t have the disparity they have now, coming to our doors and out of their comfort zones to ask for help,” shared Virginia Fincco, volunteer at Little Flower. “We’ve also seen a great number of migrants show up at our doors.”

Last year, we saw a record number of families and individuals who needed help with groceries, clothing and personal hygiene items. In a single day in late December, 105 families (about 400 individuals) came to our doors seeking food and clothing assistance.

“We’re so grateful for our team, donors and volunteers who are helping us manage the increased needs,” said Donna Potter, supervisor at Little Flower.