Casa Familia is one of five residential facilities operated by St. Elizabeth Shelter. Last year, it served 339 people, providing them with 8,903 bed nights of shelter, 18,960 meals, 5,964 units of case management and, most importantly, successfully moved 247 of them -- 78% of those leaving the program -- into housing.
Since studies have shown the less time families spend homeless, the less likely they will be homeless again, securing housing for these families and children is our ultimate goal.
We want to remodel the indoor children's playroom at Casa Familia, our emergency shelter for homeless single women and families with children. It has 10 beds for women, 8 rooms for families and can accommodate up to 40 people. It is the only such facility in Santa Fe and all of Northern New Mexico, and one of 5 residential facilities operated by St. Elizabeth Shelter.
Families now constitute 37.4% of the overall homeless population. Prior to its opening in 2009, there was only one room available to one family in Northern New Mexico. By contrast, Casa Familia housed 50 families with 98 children last year..
Numerous studies have documented the deleterious effects homelessness has on children -- more physical and mental health issues, more developmental issues, increased school absences, poorer academic performance, etc. At Casa Familia, our goal is to immediately stabilize these families in a safe and secure environment and then begin working with them on the issues leading to their becoming homeless. Children are assessed for healthcare issues and referred to our more specialized partnering agencies, if appropriate. They are enrolled in school with their attendance and academic performance monitored. Tutors are provided if needed.
At Casa Familia, we want to provide the children with the ambiance and experiences similar to their non-homeless peers. For those who have been living in cars or shuttled among relatives, our playroom is the place to rest, relax and socialize with others while learning useful interpersonal skills. Families, too, finally will have the precious time and opportunity to laugh and learn together. The remodel will feature a redecorated room with playful simple murals, child-sized furniture and a cedar playhouse to inspire and promote healthy engaged play while reducing parental stress. It also will serve as an example to the parents for creating a similar space for their children in their own future home.
We will use the funds to purchase a playhouse, children's table and chairs. We will fix minor problems with electrical wiring in the play area to make it safer. We will purchase a magnet wall, chalkboard wall and paint for the floor. Then we will use volunteers to install the wall, decorate the room with playful simple murals and paint a playscape onto the floor, sealing it so it will be durable.
Funded by Santa Fe, NM (July 2016)