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Saint of the DayBook ReviewsGuest Columnist

 

 Call to Continuing Conversion and Rite of Election 2019

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March 10, 2019

Mathematical solution to the Sock puzzle

Feb. 24, 2019

Local youth attend World Youth Day in Panama

Annual QUEST weekend honors Scouts

   The Dead Sea Scrolls series

 

   St. Nicholas School, Kinsley, Advent Cantata, Dec. 7, 2008

 

   

 

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‘I was homeless, and you gave me shelter’

By DAVE MYERS
Southwest Kansas Catholic

 “I was homeless, and you gave me shelter.” – Matthew 25:35

 For 19 years, Marci Smith closed doors. It was part of her job. And it broke her heart.

“One of the worst things was locking people up,” she said of her nearly two-decade job in juvenile probation.

Today, she works for Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas where her job is to open doors — to find homes for the homeless, a sense of security for those escaping violence, a new start for those recently released from prison.

“Here, we work with a lot of the same people, and we don’t have to lock them up,” said Smith, Director of Family Services.

In 2017, her first full year with Catholic Charities, she helped find homes for 40 adults and 41 children.

So far in 2018, among those she has helped include a woman who had been living in a car for weeks with several of her eight children. Another had five children and were living in a home already over-crowded with numerous extended family members.

As the wind chill reached record lows, a young man was sleeping in a display shed in front of a hardware store. It took a while to find the young man a home, even after he was kicked out of his shed/shelter.

“He told me not to worry, that he’d been on the streets for a long time, and that he’d be fine,” Smith said.

It is these individuals and families — and the many others served by Smith and Catholic Charities — who have been helped by the Vibrant Ministries Appeal.

Much of Smith’s funding comes from grants such as the federal HUD grant and the Kansas Emergency Solutions Grant.  But it’s the unexpected expenses – a family or individual who needs a night or two in a hotel or other emergency assistance, or, say, who needs appliances or even various kitchenware — that are made possible because of the appeal.

When a person is in dire straits and dependent on the kindness of strangers for the basic necessities, meeting those unexpected needs can mean the difference between comfort and misery.

Like all of Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas, Smith’s office takes the teachings of the Lord directly to the people — not in words but in action.

“We use the ‘Housing First’ model,” Smith stressed. “A home comes first, then we talk about income.”

The only requirement?

“They have to be homeless to come here,” she explained. “That includes living on the street, in a shelter, or if they are fleeing domestic violence.”

Once they enter the doors of Catholic Charities, they are given a questionnaire that will assess their needs and prioritize them. As one can imagine, there’s a waiting list.

“It’s not first come, first served,” Smith said. “Housing is based on risk level.” The Garden City office currently has 36 people on its waiting list, while the Dodge City office has six.

Catholic Charities tries to get the clients  independent within a year, but they can help support them for up to two years.

“Our goal for them is to be self-sustainable.”

They are mostly single men who come to the Catholic Charities office, Smith said, but there are couples and children as well. Sadly, there are far more in need than there are resources to meet those needs.

Catholic Charities does not have the staff or financial resources for an unlimited number of clients, so it must try to limit its clients to a total of 16 homes. There are currently seven homes being served in Dodge City, and 11 in Garden City, which adds up to 18.

“Brooke [Hamlin-Lopez, Family Support Specialist], is the case worker for Garden City,” Smith said. “This is a difficult population to case manage, so we all work together to help the case management process run more smoothly.

“We pay the first three months’ rent and the safety deposit,” Smith explained. Every three months, Smith’s staff  will visit with the clients to reassess their situation.

“We help find them housing and work with landlords,” Smith said. “Our clients are never charged more than 30 percent of their income.”

And if they don’t have some sort of income? Catholic Charities helps them to apply for various programs that will assist them as they get back on their feet. She is “SOAR” certified, which means Smith can help individuals apply for disability if they are homeless or at the risk of homelessness.

“My greatest reward is seeing people make changes in their lives, become self-sufficient,” Smith said.

 

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”                                                                          -- Matthew 25:40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past Issues

Feb. 10, 2019

Jan. 27, 2019

Jan. 13, 2019

Dec. 23, 2018

Dec. 9, 2018

Nov. 25, 2018

Nov. 11, 2018

Oct. 28, 2018

Oct. 14, 2018

Sept. 16, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: 2018 Golf Classic; student athletes; physically challenged; Leonard Stegman; Lesson in forgiveness; Sending us on a mission

Sept. 2, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Priest crisis; Scandal; Opioid addictions; Seeds of Suicide; Leightons; St. Anne; Vincke; seminarians; Dominican Sisters; Stewardship Conference; Dead Sea Scrolls; PSR programs; Roe V. Wade

 

August 12, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Prayer and Action; Totus Tuus; Janee Bernal; Diana Ramirez; Heidy Ramirez; Bishop Gilmore honored for 20 years ministry; suicide; contraception and abortion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Humanae Vitae; certification in youth ministry; Chuck Weber; Cathedral rectory chapel; Sister Viola Heichelbech; Adam Urban

July 15, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Immigration Protest/Rally; Faith and Light Fiesta; Seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls; Corpus Christi procession; Prayers for priests; Sisters turn 100; Michael Brungardt; Gerald Vincke; Massacre in San Salvador; Action for Alex 

 

June 3, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Parish Pray for Priestly Vocations; Appeal reaches $10 million; Gangs; Seminarians; Pam Willis; Why I like being a priest; Happy Father's Day; Patricia Lujan; Tyler and Rachel Bennett; Adoption Protection Act.

May 20, 2018
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation
KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Track meet; Beloved Sinners; Benjamin Martin retires; Smiles; Future of Fortune Telling; Hoisington mission; DofI; Getting Equipped; Spring Social; First Communion; Confirmation

May 6, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Archbishop Romero; Seeing, Touching, Tasting; Exhortation; Father Patrick Conroy; Happy Mother's Day; A child on your doorstep; Vibrant Ministries Grant; From the heart of a young father; Love Gives Life; Roman Holiday; Smartphone; retirement
Fossil Hunting

 

April 15, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Easter Vigil; Angelica Village; Colorado woman; The art of anger; Cimarron Couple; Staats; Adoption; 

Father Ultan Murphy anniversary; Coughlan; Spiritual Advisor to Hoodlums; Woman of Courage; Oration contest; Darcy Feist  

 

April 1, 2018

 

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Defending Adoption; Led by the Spirit; Knights; ABC Pregnancy Center;
Memorial of Mary; Homeless; Relics; Down syndrome abortion; Chrism Mass

 

March 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: SKYAC; Aleksandr Men; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; Uganda; School for deaf; Rannah Evetts; Oberle; Rachel and Doug Trombley; Oscar Romero; Paul VI; DACA

 

 

March 4, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Fasting for priestly vocations; Father Juan; Fasting and prayer;
Quest Weekend 2018; DACA; With God, anything is possible; Homelessness in our communities; Rhubarb, Kansas;
What's the point of fasting; Rite of Election; same-sex couples

 

Feb. 18, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Catholic Schools Week; Rachel Doll; Ellinwood; Great Bend; Garden City; Ness City; Dodge City; Sister Rita Schwarzenberger; Nigeria; Bishop Hermes; Fasting for Priestly Vocations; World Day for Consecrated Life; 50th Anniversary St. Dominic School; What will life be like in 50 years?

 

 

Feb. 4, 2018

 

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: March for Life; Tracy and Ross Smith; Adoption; Vibrant Ministries; Faith and Light;
Pro-Life; Mortal sin to discard elderly; DACA; Abortion; Dreamers; Human Trafficking

 

Jan. 21, 2018

 KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Louise Korbe; Anne Frank; Miep Gies; Home Heat; Father Solanus

 

Jan. 7, 2018

KEYWORDS, PHRASES: Good news and kingdom living; dreamers; Sister Teresa Orozco; Infant Adoption; Elderly; a moral conundrum; seminarian; feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

 

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