New An­gel’s Watch Shel­ter opens for trou­bled res­i­dents, sin­gle fam­i­lies

Maryland Independent - - News - By JOHNATHON CLINKSCALES jclinkscales@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @JClink_MdINDY

In an ef­fort to pro­vide a safe haven and an in­de­pen­dent life for sin­gle fam­i­lies flee­ing from do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, chronic home­less­ness or sub­stance abuse, Catholic Char­i­ties Arch­dio­cese of Wash­ing­ton opened its new An­gel’s Watch Shel­ter on Oct. 10 in Charles County, fea­tur­ing more ameni­ties and im­proved ac­cess to vi­tal ser­vices and com­mu­nity sup­port within the tri-county area.

The new fa­cil­ity, which in­creases the shel­ter’s ca­pac­ity by 50 per­cent to ac­com­mo­date larger fam­i­lies, in­cludes a com­mu­nity room, din­ing room, com­puter room, li­brary, fit­ness room and a special play­ground pro­vided by sup­port­ers of Catholic Char­i­ties. The shel­ter is also now in close prox­im­ity to ba­sic ser­vices, pro­vided through Charles County, such as the sher­iff’s and fire depart­ment, med­i­cal and den­tal ser­vices, so­cial ser­vice agen­cies as well as pub­lic trans­porta­tion, ac­cord­ing to a Catholic Char­i­ties press re­lease.

Af­ter more than a year of plan­ning, Catholic Char­i­ties D.C. Pres­i­dent & CEO Mon­signor John En­zler said the or­ga­ni­za­tion is proud to open the new fa­cil­ity as it will be a bless­ing for the South­ern Mary­land com­mu­nity.

“An­gel’s Watch has been a bea­con of hope for strong, re­silient women and their chil­dren,” En­zler said. “With this new build­ing, we can help and pro­tect more fam­i­lies than ever, em­pow­er­ing them to pur­sue in­de­pen­dent lives free from abuse.”

For nearly 30 years, the An­gel’s Watch Shel­ter has been a source of safety and new be­gin­nings for women and their chil­dren flee­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and/or home­less­ness in South­ern Mary­land. The shel­ter al­lows women to bring all of their chil­dren with them, in­clud­ing males up to 17 years old.

Res­i­dents work one-onone with spe­cially-trained staff and case man­agers who help guide them to an in­de­pen­dent life. In ad­di­tion, res­i­dents will still have ac­cess to a full range of so­cial ser­vices on­site at the An­gel’s Watch Shel­ter, through Catholic Char­i­ties and other com­mu­nity part­ners, to as­sist them on their path to self-suf­fi­ciency, the press re­lease also noted.

“Our beau­ti­ful new An­gel’s Watch [Shel­ter] re­flects the hope and op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead of the chil­dren and fam­i­lies who walk through the door in the midst of a life cri­sis,” said Amanda Ch­es­ney, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of home­less and hous­ing ser­vices for Catholic Char­i­ties. “We aim to em­power each one to seize their short stay with us to ad­dress their bar­ri­ers to hous­ing, and set them on a path to thrive in their com­mu­nity. With this larger site, we get to serve many more fam­i­lies for years to come. Cur­rent staff and pro­gram par­tic­i­pants are so ex­cited to move in.”

The lo­ca­tion of the county’s new An­gel’s Watch Shel­ter re­mains undis­closed to pro­tect the iden­ti­ties of fam­i­lies. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www. catholic­cha­r­i­tiesdc.org.

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