Wednesday, May 16, 2018

ESM forced to end WISH House program for homeless women

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 9:42 AM

click to enlarge The WISH House program provided transitional housing for up to 16 single women at one time. - FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller
  • The WISH House program provided transitional housing for up to 16 single women at one time.

Ecumenical Social Services, a nonprofit serving the homeless population in downtown Colorado Springs, announced May 16 that a lack of federal funding would force it to close WISH House, its transitional housing program for women.

We wrote about the WISH House this week.

Through the WISH House program, ESM housed up to 16 single women at one time, where they lived in four-bed rooms and could use a kitchen, TV room and computer room. The women were required to work, volunteer or attend job training during the day. ESM worked with the women to identify the “root cause” of their homelessness, and provided services such as financial advice to help them become self-sufficient.

Since the program was founded in April of 2017 with the support of a $100,000 federal community-service block grant, it has served more than 38 women, according to a press release. That funding is no longer available.

“While some went the full term with this program and now live self-sufficiently, some only stayed for a short while to best meet their personal needs,” the announcement read. “We cherished our time with all of them and have sent them all out the doors with our best wishes.”

ESM will continue to serve the homeless community with laundry services, showers and food assistance, according to the release.

“Last year, ESMs day-time programs served 70,000 people,” the release read. “Nearly 10,000 showers were taken, more than 4,000 loads of laundry were cleaned, and the number of people who received food assistance increased by 17% over the previous year.

“ESMs day-time services will remain open, but are in need of funding support due to the overwhelming demand for our services.”

The homeless population in El Paso County increased by 9.6 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to data from the Point-in-Time count released May 10. Females (adults and children) made up about 35 percent of the total homeless population in El Paso County this year.

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