Catholic Charities of Central Colorado — which works with people experiencing poverty, homelessness and crisis — moved to Douglas County in 2013, only to relocate three times in the next five years following increasing demand for services and an expansion of the nonprofit’s programs.
The nonprofit first operated from offices at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Castle Rock, but within three years found need for more space. So it moved to a downtown office, but demand continued to grow, and the organization once again found itself looking for a new home.
This October, it settled into its latest location at 410 S. Wilcox St., where the organization’s leaders say it can operate more efficiently.
“This move allows us to meet the growing need for assistance in Douglas County,” said Catholic Charities CEO Any Barton in a news release. “But what we are even more excited about is the way in which this new space will allow us to continue working on innovative and collaborative solutions that go beyond the traditional `hand-outs’ and really address the root causes of poverty.”
Catholic Charities is a founding member of Douglas County Cares, which assists people with affordable housing, homelessness or poverty, and a member of the Winter Shelter Network in Douglas County, which helps shelter women and children over the winter months.
Jodi, of Castle Rock, who asked her last name not be used to protect her family’s privacy, is among those who have sought help from the organization when she, her husband and their son found themselves homeless in 2016. Catholic Charities helped them transition from living in a tent or their car to renting a hotel room.
Additionally, the organization connected Jodi and her husband to other resources for families in need and, most importantly, she said, provided a non-judgemental person to help them.
Their case manager helped them form short-term and long-term goals to move the family out of homelessness, and never made them feel like outcasts, she said.
Regional Director Paul Narduzzo believes three main factors have driven the nonprofit’s expansions and, consequently, its need for a larger home.
The first is the region’s growth, he said. As the overall population has climbed so has the number of people in need of services, such as Jodi and her family, who had moved from Pueblo.
Second, the cost of housing has risen, he said, straining or displacing more families. Lastly, the nonprofit began offering more programs that drew additional attention.
Original programming included English as a Second Language classes and emergency services, but it now provides long-term case management and counseling needs as well, among other offerings.
Narduzzo said the nonprofite has grown to a system comprising four staff members and hundreds of volunteers. Last year, they served 635 households and saw a 150 percent increase in the number of families served each month over the past three years.
Narduzzo hopes to stay in the new space for several years.
“Catholic Charities has had a vison to be more conspicuous in the community here, in this area, to help people that are in need,” he said. “This space positions us to respond to the increasing demand that we have seen and continue to expect now and into the future.”
For Jodi, that help was invaluable.
Catholic Charities enabled her family to get back on track, she said. The family now rents an apartment, one day hopes to buy a house and is in a stable place.
“That day that we walked into Catholic Charities,” she said, “changed absolutely everything.”
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