The Shelter of Hope provides a safe place to sleep for homeless persons 365 nights a year from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. The shelter has 29 cots and, on average, has 15 – 18 guests per night. Most of the guests are temporarily homeless. Reasons for being homeless include loss of employment, inability to pay rent and utilities or being evicted from their residence. 70% of the guests are male and 30% are female. Provisions are made for families to share a room. The youngest guest at the shelter was six months old and the oldest guest was 74. In 2015, 215 people utilized the services of the shelter. If guests wish, they can receive help toward finding permanent housing or a job. Guests laundry is also done by volunteers and guests are able to take showers at a local community center because the shelter buys tickets to provide this service.
In 2012 the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth formed a task force to assess unmet needs of persons residing in the Leavenworth community. This task force met with community organizations, including social service agencies, government agencies, area churches and other community service groups.
The task force shared the results of their work and the consensus was that there was no clearinghouse that connected people who needed services to appropriate agencies. Transportation was also identified as a need for clients to utilize agency services.
From that meeting Welcome Central was born. The goal would be to connect people who had needs with agencies that could provide those services and make sure that clients had transportation that would allow them to avail themselves of those services.
During the first year of operation it became clear that at least 58 of Welcome Central’s clients were homeless. In September 2014, representatives from over twenty area churches were invited to come together to discuss the need for a homeless shelter. In an unbelievable three short months, the group managed to find a donated space for the shelter and to gather the necessary supplies needed to open. Utilizing a model established by another homeless shelter, the group agreed to provide volunteers on a rotating basis to open and staff the Interfaith Shelter of Hope. In its first year of operation 215 people utilized this safe place to stay the night.