Dear Friends and Family of Catholic Charities:
A promise is sacred. It is made with compassion, intention, and commitment.
For decades, Catholic Charities has been making and holding promises—to welcome the stranger, to serve those in need, and to be a solution in the community. Our latest promise is one of our most significant yet. This July, in partnership with the City of San Diego and the San Diego Housing Commission, we opened Rachel’s Promise, our new 24/7 emergency shelter for women.
Rachel’s Promise is in downtown San Diego’s East Village, across the street from Rachel’s Women’s Center and Rachel’s Night Shelter. It adds 40 additional beds, doubling the capacity of the night shelter, and provides wrap-around services and support to unsheltered women. Our three facilities work together to provide services, shelter, and support to women.
While every single unsheltered person faces danger and distress daily, unsheltered women are more vulnerable. Our participant surveys show that fifty percent of women report being physically assaulted while on the streets. Seventy-five percent have experienced at least one sexual assault in their lives. Eighty percent report histories of intimate partner violence. Eighty percent also report having their personal items repeatedly stolen while living on the streets.
PKaren, age 75, was sleeping in Balboa Park and was a victim of elder abuse before coming to Rachel’s Women’s Center. She immediately received a bed at Rachel’s Night Shelter and is now one of the first participants at Rachel’s Promise. Karen told us she is now “safe” and able to focus on her life, her goals, and a positive future (Read Here, Watch Here).
Phyllis never dreamed she would be homeless at age 54, but the Poverwhelming grief of losing her mother coupled with the Ptrauma of domestic violence led her to panic to the point where she felt she physically could not breathe. Phyllis was living in her car, alone, without a job or any hope for the future. Eventually, she entered a shelter for both men and women.
Phyllis never dreamed she would be homeless at age 54, but the overwhelming grief of losing her mother coupled with the trauma of domestic violence led her to panic to the point where she felt she physically could not breathe. Phyllis was living in her car, alone, without a job or any hope for the future. Eventually, she entered a shelter for both men and women. The paralyzing anxiety and stress of being there left her looking for an escape or any other option. Devastated with her life, the loss of her mother, and no support, Phyllis heard about an all-women’s shelter close to where she was staying, so she decided to check it out. The first day she was at Rachel’s, Phyllis said she finally felt like she could breathe.
Rachel’s Promise is just that—a promise—to these women and so many others who are unsheltered and often unseen. First and foremost, it is a promise to give shelter. But more profoundly, it is a promise that gives hope. Hope that a better day is here, a safe day. Hope for women who have nowhere to go and no one to support them. Hope that the team will support them and guide them to set goals that will start them moving forward in their lives.
At Rachel’s Promise grand opening, the City of San Diego’s Mayor Todd Gloria said, “Catholic Charities is no stranger to San Diego’s efforts to help our most vulnerable residents, they literally do it every single day.”
As each bed becomes filled at Rachel’s Promise, another courageous unsheltered woman will wake up each morning with the resources, support, and safety to envision how she will ultimately leave the shelter. With the help of our team members at Rachel’s Promise, she will reclaim her life, regain her independence, and make that bed available to the next woman in need.