Catholic Charities Providing Hope for Homeless Women
A sanctuary is defined as a place of refuge and safety. For women without a place to call home, the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City offers both through sanctuaries located in the OKC metro. Homelessness affects all aspects of life, and when its numerous causes are not addressed together, many women remain mired in poverty. I spoke with Chelsea Rose, director of community engagement for the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, about how they are helping to break this cycle, and the ways they are helping women help themselves.
What is your mission?
To provide help and hope to all through the Catholic tradition of service.
When were you founded and what are some details of your organization?
In 1912, the groundwork for Catholic Charities was laid with the founding of St. Joseph’s Orphanage. The needs of our society have changed dramatically since the early 1900s. In turn, our service emphasis has changed. With the help of our donors, volunteers and friends, we continue to reach out to others in mercy, charity and justice. In April 2009, Catholic Charities expanded its homeless services programs when it opened its first sanctuary. The sanctuary offers a safe, secure and empowering environment for at-risk women and their children to obtain social services and receive assistance in gaining independence. The Sanctuary in Oklahoma City was so successful that the board of directors decided to replicate the program. In 2014, Catholic Charities opened a sanctuary in Norman.
Can you provide a brief description of some of the programs and services you offer?
Each participant receives help creating a proactive plan of support to assist the family in overcoming homelessness and other obstacles. Services include case management, computer labs, phone access, job and life skills, development services, employment resources and resumé building, health education, referrals to other community resources, mental health resources, trauma counseling, GED classes, a safe place to rest and refocus, art activities, nutritious beverages and snacks, limited financial assistance, community food pantry and a clothing closet. Opportunities exist for other providers to conduct such on-site services as legal, health, mental health and DHS services.
Staff collaborate with all area agencies to provide comprehensive services to meet the needs of each participant. Although the sanctuary program focuses on the needs of women who live in shelters, services are available to people who are at risk of becoming homeless. Other Catholic Charities programs include Family H.O.P.E Case Management; transitional housing; emergency rent and utility assistance; adoption and pregnancy services; marriage, family and Individual counseling; immigration legal services; and refugee resettlement.
What can our readers do to help your organization?
Our Sanctuary Women’s Development Center in Norman requires volunteers of all skill sets to give the clients the utmost service. Volunteers assist with child care, converse with clients, work in the community garden, tutor for the GED, and more. Those with skills in scripture studies, health, cooking, job training, communication, crafts, or professional abilities such as hair stylists, counselors, attorneys and medical professionals also are greatly sought-after. Donations of personal hygiene products, nutritious snacks and baby items are always needed.
For more information:
Director of Community Engagement
1232 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma, City, OK 73106
Each participant receives help creating a proactive plan of support to assist the family in overcoming homelessness and other obstacles.