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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.

The History

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. In addition to overnight emergency shelter, Samaritan House provides a longer-term transitional program to help residents regain independence. Each of our residents is matched with a case manager who helps him/her navigate our 120-day Levels Program. The men’s dorm has 126 beds, the women’s dorm has 48 beds and there are 21 family rooms

The Need

Samaritan House, at 2301 Lawrence Street, requires significant capital improvements to continue its mission of serving those in the greatest need.

Goals include: Expanding…

• The number of rooms available on the family floor from 21 to 25
• Resources by adding a dedicated training room for both staff and clients
• By adding a job service training center and more case management offices
• The ability to better serve homeless women with dignity by upgrading additional bathroom facilities


• The building’s heating and HVAC systems which are inefficient and unreliable
• The building’s flooring and ceiling grid systems that are worn, stained and damaged
• A commercial kitchen that is outdated and utilizes undersized equipment, making it challenging to continue to serve the needs of the shelter and other Catholic Charities programs



Q: What trends are you seeing in terms of families coming to Samaritan House for assistance?

Samaritan House, providing 21 extended stay rooms for families, sees a constant need with multiple families calling in each day trying to find a safe place for their family.  In the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Colorado was found to have the third highest rate of unsheltered homeless families in the country at 32 percent, a rate considerably higher than the national average. Due to rising housing costs and other factors, Samaritan House staff report they see that it’s becoming more difficult for homeless families to find housing which is in turn increasing their length of stay at shelters and keeping limited shelter spaces filled longer, unable to accommodate other families.

Q: What supportive services are offered for families staying at Samaritan House?

Samaritan House Family Services offers a 120-day extended stay program in which families experiencing homelessness receive support for their basic needs as well as set and make progress on holistic goals in an individualized case plan spanning categories such as income acquisition, health, self-care, and finding stable housing. Participants can attend a range of life skill classes such as money management and parenting, bring their kids to activities such as crafts classes and birthday parties, and make use of on-site services to receive counseling, apply for disability, or acquire full-time work.  Partnering with a case manager from their first week in shelter, families are empowered to determine the trajectory to resolve their homelessness, are supported throughout their stay with budgeting assistance and regular follow-up to ensure sustained progress, and are connected to wrap-around services in the community to the end of meeting their needs and finding stable housing.

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

Renovations of the family floor is part of a three-year project that will make major modifications and upgrades to the entire Samaritan House facility.  The family floor project will expand 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 can serve at any given time.  This will include the addition of a few rooms able to accommodate larger families.  Family common areas, including a computer lab, playroom for children, and space for teenagers, will be modernized to improve the experience of all families participating in the program.  The 32-year old building will receive upgraded utilities and HVAC systems. A training room for staff and clients is included in the construction plans.Renovations will start on Monday, May 13, 2019, and are expected to last until fall, allowing families to move back in prior to the winter season.  Due to safety concerns during construction, the Samaritan House Family Services Program will not be able to accommodate any families until this phase is completed.

Q: What about the families who are staying at Samaritan House when renovations start?

Samaritan House is committed to working closely with community partners in the Denver Metro area to stage renovations with minimal service interruptions.  Family Services staffis collaborating with community partners to guarantee that all families enrolled in the program prior to renovations can successfully transition to extended stay shelters or transitional housing programs where they can continue to work toward self-sufficiency with sustained supports prior to May 13th.  The Family Services program will begin limiting intakes of new families starting as early as late February to realistically ensure that all families can receive referrals before construction begins.  Samaritan House is relying on commitments by community partners to prioritize referrals of Samaritan House families one month before renovations to make this happen.

Q: Will Samaritan House be able to place all families into alternate housing arrangements before renovations?

Yes, though Samaritan House will only be able to accomplish this with extensive support by other partners in the community who provide services to those experiencing homelessness.  The more commitments to accept referrals prior to renovations that Samaritan House receives from extended stay shelters and transitional housing programs, the more families Samaritan House can serve in the months approaching renovations. Samaritan House is requesting cooperation and collaboration to ensure that together we can provide the best quality care for the adults and children experiencing homelessness in our community around and during this accelerated period of renovations.

Q: What will the renovations accomplish?

The renovations are designed to continue Catholic Charities’ mission to provide a dignified and supportive environment for families and individuals experiencing homelessness, where they can regain hope and grow in self-sufficiency. The Samaritan House facility has been serving those in need – men, women, and children – in Denver for 32 years. Renovations will increase efficiencies as well as create a better experience for participants in the antiquated program. The facility is in great need of expansion to meet burgeoning demands and a makeover of antiquated facilities. The capital campaign for total renovations isprojected to cost $5.5 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
Tim Urban
Mission Advancement