Mother Nature started the New Year off with a bang! Getting hit with close to a foot of snow and temperatures in the teens is always a shock to the system. As we bundle up in our jackets and scarves and turn the heat up just a little bit higher, there are others in our community who are searching for other ways to escape the bitter cold.
One of the critical services that Catholic Charities provides is crisis response. Extreme cold is a crisis for many. When a man, woman, or family is experiencing homelessness during the winter, finding a warm bed and a hot meal is one of the most important things on their mind.
Maybe you have seen people gather around the House of Charity (HOC). The line that forms for the sleeping program grows longer when the temperature drops. That is why the HOC is open from 7p.m. until noon for services and sleeps roughly 200 individuals per night. We accept everyone, even if their journey includes substance use disorder and mental health struggles. Catholic Charities believes the solution to homelessness begins with dignity.
An often unnoticed group is families experiencing homelessness. These families can go unseen because they move around frequently, live with friends and relatives or sleep in cars. Our newest program, Rising Strong, provides holistic addiction treatment and supportive housing services while the whole family heals from generational trauma.
Catholic Charities has partnered with Family Promise, another local organization helping families experiencing homelessness, to expand services to include a warming center on the Rising Strong campus, formerly the Holy Names Convent. The warming center can hold up to 45 people per night. The center is equipped with a full bathroom, a kitchen, laundry, a comfort room for little ones who can’t sleep, and case managers on site every day. No matter where someone is on their journey, Catholic Charities case managers are there for support.
As Managing Director of Rising Strong and Chief Healthcare Integration Officer, Dawn Kinder said, “A shelter is just a roof over the head. People need more than that to become stably housed. This is a way to engage families…helping them access our services.” Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity, even when they aren’t ready or able to work on their challenges. In all kinds of weather, Catholic Charities is here to help.
Visit our home page to learn more about our programs and call our Family Services Center at (509) 358-4250 to learn more about warming centers.