Plans for new 150-bed Samaritan House Women’s Shelter unveiled
Archbishop Samuel Aquila and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock joined Charities Charities CEO Larry Smith to unveil plans for the new 150-bed Samaritan House Women’s Shelter in northeast Denver.
Together the leaders announced the new shelter to help serve homeless women in the community, including those who are elderly, with services including case management, counseling, hot meals and other services.
Mayor Hancock told a crowd of 80 gathered for the event Oct. 17 that he’s proud to see the shelter become reality.
“This new Samaritan House Women's Shelter is now part of that multi-faceted approach that we are taking to serve and care for the most vulnerable among us, especially women experiencing homelessness,” Mayor Hancock said. “So I'm very proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese and to see this new service become a reality.”
Catholic Charities purchased the building at 6240 E. Smith Road with the help of the City and County of Denver to offer shelter and resources for single women seeking relief. The city approved $1 million in Community Development Block Grant financing to assist with the $5 million project.
The 32,000 square-foot building will offer 100 beds for women in need of emergency shelter and 50 beds for a 30-day transitional program. Catholic Charities administration offices will be co-located with the shelter. The shelter will open mid-2017.
Smith said it’s a privilege to serve women in need.
“We are dedicating this facility to serve them,” Smith said during the event. “As we say at Catholic Charities, we serve everyone—not because they're Catholic—but because we’re Catholic. That’s what we are called to do. Serving our neighbor is what we are called to do by Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
According to the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative’s point in time study in early 2015, “6,130 homeless men, women and children counted in the seven county Metro Denver area” were homeless. Of the 2,446 respondents in Denver County, 30.9 percent were female.
Archbishop Aquila said that it’s a “sad reality” that women are becoming homeless at a faster rate than any other group. Like St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, they should see God in every human being—what the saint called a “beautiful experience,” he said.
“In every homeless person, we as Christians see the face of God. And see their dignity as human beings,” Archbishop Aquila said. “Whether they are on street corners asking for handouts; whether they are in our shelters; whether they sadly are strung out and laying on the street, we see Christ in them. I pray that this women’s shelter will be a place where homeless are loved and able to participate in a similar beautiful experience, where they will come to understand their true dignity as human beings; that they are truly created in the image and likeness of God.”
Denver Councilman Chris Herndon also attended and spoke at the event.
Samaritan House Women’s Shelter will be the fifth shelter operated by Catholic Charities along the Front Range. In the winter of 2014, Catholic Charities identified a growing need to serve women. That initiative, the Holy Rosary Shelter for Women, first opened as a temporary shelter at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Globeville.
To learn more about supporting Catholic Charities shelters, click here.
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