Samaritan House in Denver celebrated the expansion of services for women seeking shelter, nutritious meals and support services with a blessing and ribbon-cutting by Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Denver.
"God, the provider of shelter and home, has brought us together for the dedication of the first floor at Samaritan House established for those seeking shelter and a place to call home," said Bishop Rodríguez. "May he strengthen us by his grace so that in serving all who come here we may serve Christ himself."
Bishop Rodríguez blessed the newly renovated women's dormitory and the crowd. The event was attended by staff, volunteers and donors. After a short ceremony, the group enjoyed a barbeque meal on the front lawn.
The needs of people seeking help from the downtown shelter have evolved since opening its doors in 1986. A series of renovations on the aging building are focused on best serving the needs of of single women, families and veterans who are experiencing homelessness.
"We've learned a lot in those 35 years," said Darren Walsh, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Denver. "And as we thought about this renovation, we took those learnings into account and really looked to provide a more welcoming and accommodating and nurturing environment for the benefit of those that we serve here at Samaritan House."
Some of the updates during the multiyear renovation project include freshly painted walls, new bunk beds, lockers, mattresses and welcoming furniture throughout the building. Other structural updates include power outlets and reading lights for each bunk, additional offices for professional service specialists, an upgraded HVAC system, upgraded bathroom facilities and an increased number of rooms available on the family floor.
"We spent a lot of time working with our guests, asking questions about what would they like to see in the renovation: brighter colors, brighter lighting...Everything that we took into consideration from their feedback we actually put right into the renovation," said Mike Sinnett, vice president of shelters and community outreach for Catholic Charities.
Sinnett said the renovation is meant to respect the dignity of those served at Samaritan House. "We just want them to feel like this is a home to them."
The demand for shelter food and services has multiplied due to the pandemic. Samaritan House continues its mission to provide the best support and services possible. For more information and to support the ongoing Samaritan House renovation efforts, visit samhousedenver.org/renovation.