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Samaritan House Three-Year Renovation Plan

Catholic Charities is seeking $6 million through 2021 for renovations, staged in 2019, 2020, 2021





Update women’s emergency shelter, men’s and women’s dorms



Expand dining and offices, update patio, rec room, chapel and veteran’s facilities.


Originally founded in 1986 by Msgr. Charles B. Woodrich—also known as Father Woody—and Archbishop James Casey, the shelter made headlines as the first in America to be designed and built specifically for the homeless. In a story published November 1984 in the Denver Post, Father Woody said, “Our Samaritan Shelter has a different bottom line—one that stresses a caring, human dimension to restore the personal dignity of those who’ve been denied a sense of self-worth.”


A HAND UP It’s not just a place to sleep. We provide a temporary home, a place for new beginnings. Samaritan House provides a longer-term program to help our residents regain independence. Each of our residents is matched with a case manager who helps them navigate our 120-day Residential Program. The goal of the improvements is to meet the increased needs of the population we serve. Samaritan House serves 300 individuals every night including men, women, veterans and children. We help them on their path to becoming stable and productive members of our community. Samaritan House supports the Women’s Emergency Shelter serving up to 225 women each night at Samaritan House and at our Smith Road location.

The Need for Phase 2 updates and changes (First Floor):


• The bathroom facilities to better serve those experiencing homelessness with dignity and respect including showers, bathroom stalls, ceilings and flooring
• The perimeter security fence and professional landscaping
• Showers, bathroom stalls, ceilings and flooring in the transitional men’s and women’s bathrooms


• The building’s heating and HVAC systems which are inefficient and unreliable
• The lighting systems that are dated an inefficient. LED technology is needed to lower energy costs and improve lighting to brighten the space
• Worn and stained ceiling tiles, old paint, dated and damaged flooring


Below are photos of Samaritan House before construction. Click on a photo to view larger.


Q: What services does Samaritan House provide to single men and women experiencing homelessness in Denver?

Samaritan House offers a 120-day extended stay program in which single men and single women experiencing homelessness receive support for their basic needs as well as set and make progress on holistic goals. These goals take place in individualized case management meetings and span categories such as income acquisition, mental and physical health, self-care, and finding stable housing. During the program, participants attend a range of life skills classes such as money management, housing resources, and seeking employment. Participants make use of on-site services which include resources for counseling, apply for SSI/SSDI, and support for acquiring full-time employment. The goal is to support our participants, work to meet their needs, and provide tools for them to obtain stable, sustainable housing.

Q: What is the scope of the Samaritan House shelter renovation project and when is it expected to be completed?

Renovations of the men’s and women’s dorms are part of a three-year project that will make significant capital improvements as Catholic Charities continues its mission of serving those in the greatest need. It includes major modifications and upgrades to the entire Samaritan House facility. The family floor or third floor renovation, completed in November 2019, expanded the number of rooms by four for a total of 25 rooms or a 16 percent increase in the number of families that Samaritan House serves at one time. The renovations to the first floor of Samaritan House begin April 2020 and will continue through the end of 2020. Improvements to the 33-year-old facility include ensuring a safe and dignified place for those we serve. Construction crews will upgrade utilities and HVAC systems, as well as update bathrooms, lockers, lighting, and ceiling tiles. Fresh paint and new flooring are also part of the scope of work included in the construction plans.

Q: When renovations begin, what is the plan for the current Samaritan House participants?

During construction, the Family Services Program, Veterans’ Program and the Women’s Emergency Shelter will continue to be operational. Since Samaritan House is a 120-day transitional program, acceptance of new participants was suspended in mid-January to reduce capacity heading into April’s construction time frame. Case managers will be working with our single men and women in the 120-day extended program to help find alternate housing options. These options include but are not limited to permanent housing, transitional housing, other supportive programming and other transitional or emergency shelters. We are working closely with our community partners to best transition our participants.

Q: Why are renovations of the Samaritan House program necessary?

The Samaritan House facility has been serving those in need – men, women, and children – in Denver for 33 years. The renovations, the first full-scale construction project of the aging building that continues to provide a home for the disadvantaged for more than three decades, are designed to continue to expand Catholic Charities’ mission to provide a dignified and supportive environment for families and individuals to regain hope, grow in self-sufficiency, and reintegrate into the community. Renovations will increase efficiencies, upgrade the facilities, and create a better experience for all participants in the program. The capital campaign for total renovations is projected to cost $6 million.


Fawn, a former resident at Samaritan House

Fawn’s life quickly took a turn. The 45-year-old single mother of three and grandmother found herself homeless again after a job loss and eviction. She was living in a program with her two younger children, but time was limited. “I got evicted and then I lost my job and then, it went down the drain,” she said. Fawn was living on the streets for a couple of days while 10-year-old Jaydin and 15-year-old Kiko stayed with their older sister. Just as Fawn was losing hope, Samaritan House shelter in Denver called. It had space for her and her two children.

Fawn and family

Fawn found the support she needed to rebuild her life.

She used the program to her advantage by taking available classes for substance abuse prevention, finances and more. She started to regain hope. “I was very broken, very broken when I got here. I mean, I’m 45. And I just thought, I’m not good enough,” Fawn said. “I think this place gave me the support, because they knew I could do it.” In the spring, Fawn and her family moved into their own place together. They feel confident and stronger now that they’re on the right path.

For more information, contact

Craig Saeman
Chief Development Officer


Philanthropic Advisors:

Tim Urban
John Neal
Kate Crisham