Catholic Charities History

//Catholic Charities History
Catholic Charities History 2017-08-22T14:35:06+00:00
The new Marian House


  • In 1968, Colorado Springs Social Services (CSSS) begins operations with funding from the Denver Archdiocese following consistent requests for a social service office in Colorado Springs.
  • CSSS’s primary focus was on Child Welfare Services, budget counseling, and counseling for subsidized homes.

1970 – 1979

  • In 1970, CSSS begins offering counseling of ex-convicts, a ministry to the Hispanic community, homemaker and senior services.
  • Soup Kitchen operations begin with Steve Handen serving meals out of his own home. 13 meals were served on the first day. Handen collaborated with other local activists, known as The Bijou Community.
  • Soup Kitchen operations move to the basement of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
  • Soup Kitchen operations move to First Baptist Church. The Soup Kitchen remained here for 10 years.
  • In 1974, CSSS becomes Catholic Charities and Community Services (CCCS).
  • The CSSS office was located at 14 W Costilla Avenue.
  • Homemaker services for the homebound and convalescing citizens are offered thanks to a funding from a federal grant.

1980 – 1989

  • In the early 1980’s CCCS become Community Services and Youth Services (CSYS) when youth services were added.
  • CSYS becomes a United Way Agency in 1983.
  • The CSYS office moved to 29 W Kiowa Street
  • In 1984, the Diocese of Colorado Springs is created.
  • A Family Life Office is added to CSYS.
  • In 1985, Soup Kitchen operations move to Marian House 14 West Bijou Street
    • Marian House, named after Blessed Mother Mary, was a previously a nunnery owned by St. Mary’s Cathedral that housed 22 nuns. St. Mary’s allowed for the Soup Kitchen to operate out of the house free of rent. The Bijou Community continued to fund and operate the service.
  • In 1986, CSYS is reincorporated as Colorado Springs Catholic Community Services (CSCCS)
  • CSCCS becomes a licensed child placement agency.  Involvement in Head Start followed but then this program became its’ own 501(c)(3). sometime in 1987.
  • CSCCS brings Share Colorado to the state of Colorado in 1989.  Share Colorado helps families save money on groceries.

The Marian House



The Old Marian House.

Named after the Blessed Mother Mary, the Marian House was once a nunnery owned by St. Mary’s Cathedral in an old, yellow, Victorian style house.  The Bijou Community  began operating the Soup Kitchen out of the Marian House in the 1970’s. CC took over Soup Kitchen operations at the Marian House in 1994.  As the need for meals and other services grew, CC initiated a capital campaign to fund a New Marian House. Today, the Marian House is much more than a Soup Kitchen. In addition to serving over 600 meals per day, the Marian House is home to dozens of self-sufficiency services ranging from clothing and basic medical care to food boxes and career development services.


The New Marian House

1990 – 1999

  • In 1990, CSCCS initiates Partners in Housing (PIH) which provides transitional housing and supportive services for homeless families with children.  PIH became an independent agency in 1991.
  • CSCCS develops the Information and Referral program, staffed by Holy Cross Associates. The program helps people access information and resources for social services and would later become Client Services.
  • CSCCS has its 25th anniversary in 1993
  • Children’s services become a part of CSCCS, including pregnancy counseling and adoption. This program would officially become Life Connections in 1999.
  • CSCCS adds budget counseling, a ministry of people with disabilities, family counseling, the Campaign for Human Development, and social ministry to its programming.
  • The Family Literacy Project is formed out of requests from Our Lady of Guadalupe to offer English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes. ESL classes were made possible through a collaboration between Our Lady of Guadalupe, CSCCS, and School District 11’s Adult and Family Education program.
  • CSCCS takes over Soup Kitchen operations in 1994 from the Bijou Community due to the significant growth.  By 1995, 275 meals were being served each day.
  • The Life Support Center, now Life Support Services, is incorporated into CSCCS in 1999. LSS was an independent agency that began in 1976. LSS offers emergency family services.
  • CSCCS in conjunction with Pikes Peak Mental Health developed the Agency Connection Bus to provide transportation between social service agencies. The program was discontinued in 2008 due to high operations costs.
  • On July 26, 1999, CSCCS changed its name to Catholic Charities of Colorado Springs (CCCS) to be consistent with the Catholic Charities USA network.

The Life Support Center

In 1999, The Life Support Center merged to become part of Catholic Community Services.  At the time of the merger, The Life Support Center was providing emergency services to pregnant women and families with young children as a way to encourage low-income families to continue with an unexpected pregnancy by providing supplemental support of high-cost items that might lead a cash-strapped family to consider abortion.  The program has continued as a welcoming center for families where they can access emergency needs such clothing, baby food, formula, diapers, wipes and engage in family support activities.

2000 – 2009

  • Marian House Community Outreach begins as a 1-day a week service program in 2002. By 2003, the program began operating 5 days a week to meet the growing need.
  • CCCS launched the “Bridges to New Beginnings” capital campaign to build a new Marian House.
  • In 2005, Client Services begins offering a clothing closet with hygiene products, birth certificate and ID replacement, and development for a case management service.
  • The Parish Social Ministry program is reinstated into CCCS in 2006.
  • The New Marian House Soup Kitchen opens in June 2008.
  • The Family Literacy Program becomes Family Immigration Services, offering low-cost immigration legal assistance in 2008.
  • The Hanifen Center opens in June 2009. The center is named after Bishop Hanifen, former Bishop of Colorado Springs. In conjunction with the Marian House Soup Kitchen, the Hanifen Center housed additional emergency and self-sufficiency services such as Client Services and Community Outreach.

2010 – 2017

  • In 2011, CCCS changes its name to Catholic Charities of Central Colorado to represent the 10-county service area.
  • In 2013, CCCC opens an office in Castle Rock to serve the poor and vulnerable in Douglas, Elbert and Park Counties.
  • In July 2015, CCCC opens a Life Skills & Career Development Program which provides individualized assistance for clients to achieve personal and professional goals.  In the first year, 46 clients found employment.  In year two, that number had increased to 200.
  • In collaboration with Family Promise of Colorado Springs, CCCC opens the Family Day Center (FDC) pilot in 2015. The FDC is the only center in Colorado Springs that provides a day shelter for homeless families.  in the 8 month pilot period, the center served 123 unduplicated families. In 2016, CCCC moved forward with the FDC operation alone, serving 189 families.
  • With funding from a federal grant, CCCC becomes a Family Resource Center in 2016 with a greater focus on services for families
  • In 2016, CCCC supported the efforts of Springs Rescue Mission to build a campus to focus on the needs of the chronically homeless.  CCCC refocused its efforts on families and realigned programs into four focus areas:  Families, Paths to Opportunity, Emergency & Essential Services, Health & Well-Being Services.
  • In 2016, the Family Mentor Alliance moved from Springs Rescue Mission to CCCC. The program pairs families experiencing housing instability and homelessness with mentor teams from religious congregations to help families achieve housing stability, self-sufficiency, and build community support systems.
  • In October 2017, CCCC moves its Family Services, now called Family Connections to the Helen Hunt Campus to offer consolidated Family Services in one location.

Catholic Charities Castle Rock Office Opens

In May 2013, Catholic Charities successfully opened an office in the Northern Deanery, based in Castle Rock.  The office was intended to serve the growing numbers of families in need in the northern region of the Diocese of Colorado Springs.  Initially, the office was located at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

Services quickly grew and in September 2016, the office relocated to downtown Castle Rock.  Today,  the Castle Rock office provides emergency and essential services, helps individuals and families move toward self-sufficiency, and provides ESL classes, counseling, family immigration services and a variety of outreach programs.   The office primarily serves Douglas, Park, and Elbert counties.

2018 – Catholic Charities 50th Anniversary