The Catholic Charities center in El Paso County and Colorado Springs supports the entire region, including nearby town and counties. Seniors, low income, the unemployed and those who are struggling can explore social services and emergency assistance programs that operate in the region.
Marian House Client Services is the primary emergency assistance program offered in the region. Various transition services, aid, support, and case management is offered to low income families and people who need a meal or who are faced with a crisis. Support is offered for those in the broader El Paso County community who need help and who call in for assistance. Unfortunately all resources are limited, but they do their best to provide services to the working poor and low-income families, veterans, seniors on a fixed income, and people who are homeless or faced with eviction.
Some aid may be directly provided, but more than likely they will refer those in need to local services and government programs which can help improve someone’s life situation. Some of what is available in the area includes transportation assistance including bus tokens, COPE utility bill assistance, Social Security applications, and temporary/permanent housing referrals. Employment services are offered too, which can include help acquiring official documents that may be needed for jobs, employment search referrals, and education program referrals.
Also, as part of the emergency services, the agency maintains a food pantry and clothing closet in Colorado Springs. It can provide items like adult seasonal clothing, men’s work wear (heavy shirts & pants, boots and gloves), hygiene products, blankets, and sleeping bags.
The Hanifen Center is also part of client services, and it brings all these various assistance programs and emergency services together to meet the immediate basic needs of families and individuals in Pikes Peak. The resources operate under Life Support Center programs and other Community Outreach. It addresses a total eight core areas, including childcare referrals, housing, transportation, employment/income, life skills, education, mental health, and medical/physical health. The SET Homeless Medical Clinic is another service, as well as Faith Community Nurses of Penrose Hospital and Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group.
Another emergency assistance program that Catholic Charities can help people apply for is Project COPE. It was created in order to help needy customers and families of Colorado Springs Utilities pay their utility and heating bills under emergency circumstances. Various distribution agencies in El Paso County Colorado and other parts of the state both accept applications and can help people apply. Any emergency cash funds are provided from the Marian House Client Services groups as well as Life Support Center.
The federal government and FEMA provide the program with limited funding, which can be available for paying utilities and rent. Catholic Charities is a COPE approved agency that can help families with paying heating bills and utilities when they have an eviction notice or are faced with shut off. This will help allow families devote what money they have to other core expenses and other basic needs such as food.
The Catholic Charity soup kitchen operates 365 days a year, and the number of requests for help is increasing every year. The number of meals served to children has doubled in the past two years, and other aid is offered for seniors and people who are trying to make it through a difficult period.
Immigration Services are provided to families and they offer help to newcomers, and will assist them with getting into the community. Immigration programs include Naturalization & Immigration Services as well as ESL Classes.
Marian House Life Support provides emergency basic needs to families with children, and focuses on their needs. This resource has served as a strong advocate for children from low income families in the Pikes Peak region. The intent of this Center is to cushion the impact of poverty on children and infants by providing their parents with essential living items to keep their children safe and healthy.
Parents who are part of this program are welcomed into a bi-lingual, nurturing environment that focuses on maximizing the program’s benefits for the entire family. At first you will be deciding on what basic needs have to be met through the intake process.
After that process is complete, the assistance program offers families the opportunity to shop for baby equipment, clothing, blankets, supplies, formula and new toys from the Life Support shopping area. Mothers of infants also receive baby food, diapers, and free baby formula. The aid is offered in an emergency and is not long term support.
Life Support also allows pregnant mothers the ability to shop for maternity clothing. When someone gets within one month of their due date, expectant mothers are able to return to the Catholic Charity office for layettes consisting of all new supplies and items that are necessary to bring a newborn home. Free school supplies also are available to children of clients. Children of current clients can also receive new toy and new items of clothing and other gifts from Christmas and Birthday Buddy programs.
Specific referrals can be made by advocates as well to other agencies in El Paso County and surrounding regions. Licensed counselors are employed and on staff and can work with families who could benefit from additional support and case management, and who importantly show a willingness to participate in the process.
VITA, or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, is available on site at the Hanifen Center. It is offered during the tax season for low to moderate income taxpayers. Qualified people can receive free income and state tax filing advice and services.
The El Paso County Catholic Charity offices are at 228 North Cascade Avenue Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Call (719) 636-2345. Or stop by a second location at 14 W. Bijou Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903.
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