OKC Shrine Women’s Development Center serves as a shrine
Homeless women and their children are offered help and hope at a former church in Stockyards City.
For many of them, the OKC Shrine Women’s Development Center provides a bit of home comfort when they don’t have it: food, a phone, a TV, and a place to relax. . Access to hygiene products specifically for women and support from caring case managers are also provided at the day shelter.
No one knows this better than Angela Duncan, a woman from Oklahoma City who said she found the support she desperately needed at the center, 2133 SW 11.
Duncan, 32, said the women’s day shelter provided her with a place to make phone calls, access to computers, food and fellowship opportunities with other women who are also trying to recover on foot.
For Duncan, the shelter has been a godsend – a true sanctuary for women as the name suggests.
“It’s really safe and it makes me feel like I’m stable,” she said.
“It reminds me that God is there every day, not just Sunday.”
Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, a branch of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, has operated the day shelter located in the former Catholic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe since 2009.
The faith-based agency will host a “Reds, Whites & Brews” fundraiser on July 23 to help continue much needed homeless services in central Oklahoma City and one in Norman.
The fundraiser will take place at Dunlap Codding on Film Row and will include musical entertainment by Bethany singer-songwriter Rocky Kanaga. Beer will be provided by local breweries, and four wineries hand-picked by event organizers will also be available to each ticket holder.
Racheal Singley, the director of the day shelter, said the money that will be raised through the fundraiser will come at a critical time as she has noticed an increase in the number of women seeking help from the shelter. She attributes this in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and also to the fact that it was one of the first shelters to resume operations at full capacity after the pandemic temporarily closed in the spring of 2020.
Christi Jeffreys, director of annual giving for Catholic Charities, shared similar comments.
“The money raised through this event allows our day shelter to provide rental assistance, help with utilities as well as hygiene needs, showers, laundry facilities and more,” he said. she declared.
Jeffries and Singley both said the center supports homeless women and children on their journey into homelessness and their transition to permanent housing. Jeffries said social workers at the center lead women on the path to self-sufficiency.
“A sense of self-esteem”
The OKC Shrine Women’s Development Center is located in a building that was once used as a mission site for Saturday night services at the nearby Little Flower Catholic Church. The archdiocese of Oklahoma City gave permission to transform the place of worship into a women’s day shelter, as the building would still be used for ministry.
Kim Mizer, director of communications for Catholic Charities, said much of what the center offers is a sense of dignity for women who are going through one of the most difficult seasons of their lives.
“It gives them a sense of self-worth that they desperately need,” she said.
Singley shared details of how the shelter is supporting homeless women and children. The center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day of the week, offering breakfast, access to showers, a place to do laundry, get snacks and other foods, use phone and computers and a physical address that women can use. to receive mail. Singley said the day shelter has a van that picks up women and children from the OKC Homeless Alliance every day and several overnight shelters like the Citycare Low Barrier Shelter and the City Rescue Mission. She said about 45 women seek respite and help at the shelter each day and, like many pantries and other agencies that help the poor, the center sees more people at the end of the month when their help. such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP benefits are exhausted.
Case managers at the center help women get their birth certificates and other forms of identification. They also help their clients navigate the process of obtaining permanent housing and SNAP benefits. The center also provides funds to help with utility deposits and other needs once the women are able to secure housing. Singley said the shelter recently helped a woman get a car she needed to get to and from a new job.
Singley said some of the centre’s clients, like Duncan, stay in one of the shelters overnight, while others can temporarily “surf the couch” – sleep at a friend or relative’s house. Others, unfortunately, live in areas where many homeless people have set up tents.
“The objective is to help them at the start of this progression to prevent them from having to stay in this camp,” she said. “We want to help them before they get to this point.”
Singley said the center had just launched an art therapy group and professional skills course in collaboration with Goodwill. Additionally, she said case manager Elizabeth DeBo is on the verge of starting a recovery group and the center will create a life skills group to help teach things like budgeting and cooking skills.
DeBo said she wanted to work at the women’s day shelter because she experienced some of the things many clients at the center have gone through.
“I wanted to be able to use my struggles of being homeless on the streets, of being a survivor of domestic violence, of being engulfed in addiction and overcoming all the shame, guilt and trauma of being” this mother “who lost her child to her family because she couldn’t stop moving away from her abuser and couldn’t stop using,” DeBo said.
“I know how powerful it is to have someone who truly understands the challenges of recovery and recovery, letting women know that they are not the only ones, that they are not alone. and that they no longer have to do things on their own. ”
“Like at home”
Meanwhile, Duncan said she was close to getting a nice place to raise her children because she was approved for housing.
In the meantime, the cheerful and chatty woman said she was staying at the Citycare overnight shelter until all the paperwork for her accommodation was finalized and she spent much of her days at the Women’s Development Center in the OKC shrine.
She said the center was a place where she could focus on her plans for a better life for herself and her family. Case managers care about women walking through doors and give them special experiences like monthly birthday parties and a recent Queen for a Day initiative where they were pampered and treated with hair and makeup sessions.
Duncan said she was also grateful that representatives from the center took her and other clients to a recent career fair.
“It’s nice to have care and help and to talk to someone who’s been there or just has an open heart, someone who says ‘I’ll be there with you.’ It’s a good opportunity to just focus on yourself and it gives you a chance to be calm, ”Duncan said.
“It’s like being at home.”
Reds, whites and beers
When: 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 23.
Or: Dunlap Codding, 609 W Sheridan Ave.
Cost: $ 65 per person. Sponsorships available.
Information / tickets: Contact Christi Jeffreys, 405-526-2323; [email protected]; or https://catholiccharitiesok.org/give/events/red-white-brews.