Catholic Charities Pasco Family Shelter, celebrated six months of success on April 13, 2022. Shelter residents, community members and Pasco County representatives recognized the shelter during National Community Development Week with an Open House.
The event was attended by community members, parishioners from local parishes, staff members from Catholic Charities and both the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County and Pasco County’s Community Development Department. During the event, they learned about the shelter’s successful impact through its first six months of operation. According to C.E.O Coalition of the Homeless of Pasco County Don Anderson, “I believe the results speak for themselves.” Click here for pictures from the Open House.
The event received limited media coverage. Link to view ABC News 28 coverage here and see the Bay News 9 story immediately below:
Pasco Family Shelter opened on October 20, 2021 to help homeless families get off the street. The shelter provides three meals a day, clothing, counseling, assistance finding work and more for the nine families living there at any given time. The goal is to find permanent, stable housing so they can become self-sufficient. Thirteen of the twenty-one families served thus far found permanent housing. Catholic Charities’ Senior Director of Programs, Danielle Husband, said, “It’s just one step ahead on their future plans to get into the home of their dreams.” According to Director of Community Development for Pasco County, Marcy Esbjerg, “I am thankful for your [Catholic Charities] vision and persistence in seeing this through. Blood, sweat and tears pave the way.”
Kahleel Caldwell and his girlfriend were going through rough times. The family was homeless with a two-day old baby boy when the Pasco Family Shelter took them in. Baby Marcellus was one day away from being placed in foster care. “Even in your darkest moments, there’s always opportunities. People just don’t take the time out to do it or to think about it…to move toward a better life,” said Caldwell.
Stephanie Koezeno and her three children found themselves homeless after being given only 30 days to move out of their apartment after the landlord sold the property. They had nowhere to go, no family and no paternal support when they were welcomed into the Pasco Family Shelter. Stephanie said, “My kids loved it. They loved the bunkbeds. They were actually more excited than me.” While at the shelter, Stephanie worked hard as a student enrolled in Ultimate Medical Academy for her associate degree in Medical Billing. Stephanie said, “My kids keep me strong, keep me going, keep pushing my own self.” After spending a few months in the shelter, her family moved into their own home in February. Her final thoughts said it best: “As much as I am grateful for this place, I just hope I don’t come back.”
Jodi Montoya and her four children struggled with homelessness. Jodi said, “My kids and I were moving out of a house and into a car.” After spending a few weeks in the Pasco Family Shelter, they found a place to live with help from staff. During her last days at the Pasco Family Shelter, Jodi reflected on what the shelter meant to her family: “Catholic Charities provided this for us, and it is beautiful. We have a bed, and we have a meal every single day.” Jodi’s motivation propelled her family forward, “You’re in this situation but this situation does not have to be permanent.”
While many families have flourished at the Pasco Family Shelter during its first six months of existence, the goal is to help more homeless families find the support they need to find their own footing as they return to the path of self-sufficiency.
Impact thus Far
Virtual Tour of the Shelter
Pasco Family Shelter provides a safe living environment for homeless families as they work to return to the path of self-sufficiency. Click here to learn more! To donate cash now, text pascoshelter to 91999. Click here to donate!