Family services suspended during renovations at Samaritan House

More rooms for families will be available when the work is done.

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates Mass in the Samaritan House Women's Shelter chapel during the grand opening event on August 24, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo courtesyThe Catholic Alliance)

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila celebrates Mass in the Samaritan House Women's Shelter chapel during the grand opening event on August 24, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo courtesyThe Catholic Alliance)

Donna Bryson. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Catholic Charities is embarking on much-needed renovations at its central Denver shelter this spring that will mean a suspension of services for families.

When the work is done, Samaritan House will have four more rooms on its family floor, bringing the total to 25. In the meantime, the floor will be closed starting April 1. Catholic Charities spokeswoman Nissa LaPoint said that during construction, which is to start in May and expected to be completed in the fall, other service providers would step in to help families.

“We’re really grateful for everyone’s collaboration on this,” LaPoint said. “There’s a lot of families that are facing homelessness now for a myriad of reasons, but basically because rent is unaffordable.”

Samaritan House last week stopped accepting new families into a 120-day program that often ends with graduation to more permanent housing. Before April 1, Catholic Charities hoped to find permanent or transitional housing for families now in the program.

Denver Human Services spokeswoman Julie Smith said “the city has been in close contact with Samaritan House as they’ve been moving forward with their renovation plans.”

Smith said her department will post a staffer at Samaritan House with vouchers to help families get into the VOA Family Motel and other motels and hotels with which the city has emergency shelter contracts.

“There are additional family shelter providers in the Denver metro region who may also be able to provide support depending on demand,” Smith said.

The new family rooms are part of the first phase of a three-year renovation of Samaritan House, which was founded in 1986. The plans also call for an overhaul of the shelter’s kitchen and heating and air conditioning systems and upgraded child care and computer centers.

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