One of the most vulnerable homeless populations in the Denver metro area have access to additional shelter with the expansion of Holy Rosary shelter for single women last week.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver officially staffed additional space December 28 for women seeking relief from homelessness at Holy Rosary, one of the city’s first long-term emergency shelters to meet the needs of single women.
“Since we’ve been running Holy Rosary and its overflow area in December 2014, we’ve never turned away a woman in need,” said Geoff Bennett, vice president of Catholic Charities’ shelter services.
Women make up an average of 51 percent of the homeless population across the metro area, the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative reported in June 2015. The study also found 690 single women are homeless on any given night in Denver.
“They are one of the most vulnerable populations,” Bennett continued. “And a significant percentage of these women we’re helping are senior citizens. We’ve estimated 30 percent to 40 percent are more than 60 years old.”
With a heightened awareness of single women battling homelessness, Catholic Charities first opened a temporary shelter for women last winter at Holy Rosary Church in the Globeville neighborhood. It was moved in April to Catholic Charities’ Samaritan House, a shelter at 2301 Lawrence St., which serves 3,500 men women and children each year. With the additional off-site shelter, Holy Rosary’s 100-women capacity grew to 300.
“If anybody is aware of any women that are homeless, send them to Samaritan House any evening between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.,” Bennett said. “We’ll provide them a hot meal and make sure they have a place to stay.”
Catholic Charities staffs Holy Rosary, including the additional off-site shelter located near Interstate 70 and Peoria Street after The Salvation Army handed over operations December 28. The Denver Rescue Mission staffs the men’s side of the shelter at the same location. Catholic Charities encourages women to transition into Samaritan House’s four-month extended stay program to give them more access to needed services.
Holy Rosary is one of Catholic Charities’ five shelters, including Samaritan House in Denver, Father Ed Judy House in Denver, Guadalupe Community Shelter in Greeley and The Mission in Fort Collins—providing “love, safety, shelter, clothing, food and supportive services to help restore dignity, regain lost hope, and reclaim ownership of their lives and reintegrate into the community.”