In 2009, Catholic Charities was granted the our Lady of Guadalupe mission church in southwest Oklahoma City. The vacant building was converted into a day shelter for women and children. The building became something that stayed true to its origins and fulfilled what these women and children needed: A SANCTUARY.
Most homeless shelters in Oklahoma City have no barriers for entry. Statistics show that women will deny themselves services due to situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault and fear for their children. The exclusion of men from this day shelter gives our clients a better sense of security.
Women and children are able to access the Sanctuary day shelter to bathe, wash clothes, use the computers, or to simply get reprieve from the outside. The outdoor playground behind the main Sanctuary building provides children an area of fun and play.
Program services are also available to our clients which include resource referral assistance in accessing services such as vocational and employment development, as well as life skills classes. Trained social workers assess the personal strengths and needs of each client. Assessment includes health and nutritional status, income and benefits, mental health status and any other concerns. The assessment also identifies legal issues, domestic violence situations and child abuse abuse concerns.
The church’s former parish hall, now known as “Mary’s House”, serves as a classroom, a gathering space for group activities, storage for food and hygiene pantry, and offices for the case management staff. Mary’s House sits 200 yards from Sanctuary’s main building, making the accessibility less than ideal for those going between the two buildings. Both buildings on the property are in need of repairs and expansion.