Catholic Charities History

//Catholic Charities History
Catholic Charities History2018-11-27T16:03:10+00:00
The new Marian House


  • In 1968, Colorado Springs Catholic Social Services (CSCSS) begins operations with funding from the Denver Archdiocese following consistent requests for a social service office in Colorado Springs.
  • CSCSS’s primary focus was on Child Welfare Services, budget counseling, and counseling for subsidized homes.
  • The first CSCSS office was located at 220 East Monument Street in Colorado Springs

1970 – 1979

  • In the 1970’s, CSCSS begins offering counseling to ex-convicts, a ministry to the Hispanic community, homemaker, and senior services.  Homemaker services for the homebound and convalescing citizens are offered as a result of funding from a federal grant.
  • 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, CSCSS becomes Colorado Springs Catholic Community Services, Inc. (CSCCS).
  • The CSCCS office was located at 14 W Costilla Avenue.

1980 – 1989

  • In the early 1980’s CSCCS becomes Colorado Springs Catholic Community and Youth Services (CSCCYS) when CSCCS and Catholic Youth Services were combined into one agency.
  • CSCCYS becomes a United Way Agency in 1983.
  • The CSCCYS office moved to 29 W Kiowa Street
  • In 1984, the Diocese of Colorado Springs was created.
  • A Family Life Office was added to CSCCYS.
  • In 1985, Soup Kitchen operations move to Marian House at 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 April 1987, CSYS was reincorporated as Catholic Community Services of the Diocese of Colorado Springs (CCS)
  • CCS becomes a licensed child placement agency and initiates open adoptions.
  • Involvement in Head Start followed but then this program became its’ own 501(c)(3) in 1987.
  • CCS 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, CCS initiates Partners in Housing (PIH) which provides transitional housing and supportive services for homeless families with children.  PIH became an independent agency in 1991.
  • CCS 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.
  • CCS has its 25th anniversary in 1993
  • Children’s services become a part of CCS , including pregnancy counseling. This program would officially become Life Connections in 1999.
  • CCS adds budget counseling, a ministry to 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, CCS, and School District 11’s Adult and Family Education program.
  • CCS 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 CCS in 1999. LSS was an independent agency that began in 1976 to encourage pregnant mothers to choose life for their unborn babies by providing emergency family services support.
  • CCS 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, CCS 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 Project expands ESL offerings
  • Family Immigration Services  is formed to offer 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 Services.

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.  During 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 state 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 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 December 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

Catholic Charities Family Connections Moves to Helen Hunt Campus

Family Connections programs, including the Family Day Center, Family Mentor Alliance, and Life Support Services, moved from the Marian House complex to offices in the newly renovated Helen Hunt Campus in December 2017.  Beginning in 2018, many programs were added, including Playgroup, Parenting on the Go, Kidz Korner while others were expanded such as the Early Literacy Project to better prepare clients with early literacy awareness and materials to prepare children 0 – 5 for school.

A significant change for Catholic Charities is the way programs will be delivered at the new facility within the Family Connections department.  The focus will be on a 2Gen approach utilizing Life Coaches and Case Managers triaging and delivering a variety of services such as emergency children’s material goods, helping families transition out of homelessness, help with emergency shelter, and early literacy programs while program names, such as Family Day Center, Family Mentor Alliance and Life Support Services are retired.

The move allows for Family Connections to grow and expand family services to help families in deeper, more meaningful ways.

Contact Info

228 North Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Phone: (719) 636-2345

Fax: (719) 636-1216