Family Promise of Colorado Springs announced Nov. 20 it will close its Day House, a refuge for more than 20 years for families experiencing homelessness.
The agency, doing business as Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for the demise of its Day House program at 519. N. Tejon St.
"At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the city faced the 'safer at home' order," Family Promise said in a release, "congregations could no longer accommodate our families in the churches. Family Promise adapted by clearing out the offices at the Day House and converting them into bedrooms so that each family would have a safe and homelike setting. The faith communities continued to support Family Promise and the IHN Shelter by providing the families with meals through contactless deliveries of home cooked meals."
Since March 2020, the release said, Family Promise provided shelter and life changing supportive services to 29 families, which included 48 children.
But financial and resource constraints, along with continuing COVID-19 concerns for the safety of families and faith communities, Family Promise opted to close the Day House and move those families to the New Promise Family Shelter until the agency can restart a rotational model where churches host the families in their congregations.
The Day House provided space for guest families to bathe, wash laundry, prepare formula and food for infants, and prepare snacks for the older children for when they returned from school, and to receive mail and phone calls. It also offered a library and computers for kids to do school work, and an outdoor play space for younger children and a basketball hoop for older children.
The Day House was a place where families could play or just relax together before heading to one of the supporting congregations for dinner and safe sleeping arrangements, the release said.
“We are sad to close the Day House, but this restructuring will allow us to centralize services for all of our families. We look forward to restarting the rotational model with the faith communities of Colorado Springs," interim executive director Crystal Karr said in the release. "We are using this time to improve and expand supportive services to be stronger than ever before.”
Karr tells the Indy in an interview the program hopes to vacate the house by Dec. 31 and move the families staying there to the New Promise Family Shelter, a renovated motel on South Nevada Avenue.
"The landlord was very generous and gave us a good deal, but we had to realign programs because of lack of funds," she says. "Everybody has been hit hard by COVID."
She says the agency hopes to restart the rotational model in March. Until then, the New Promise Family Shelter will house families but also function as the Day House has.
The Day House will host one last event at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in tandem with the city's Parade of Lights. Cookies and cocoa will be provided. Donations can be earmarked for Family Promise’s Give! Campaign.