Sisters of Providence to close emergency shelter for women and children
Providence Hospitality House, a Seattle emergency shelter for women and children opened by the Sisters of Providence in 1979, has closed indefinitely, due to financial and operating challenges. A planned temporary closure that began in August was continued.
The decision was made by the board of directors of Providence Pariseau with the concurrence of the Provincial Superior and Council of the Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province. Providence Pariseau’s other sponsored ministry in Seattle, Sojourner Place, will continue to offer transitional housing and services for single and pregnant women, but it also faces challenges.
“The decision to close Providence Hospitality House was not arrived at lightly,” said Provincial Superior Karin Dufault, SP. “For several years, we have been grappling with how best to raise sufficient operational funds for both ministries and to expand their capacity to improve the lives of the vulnerable population they serve. After lengthy research, discussion, prayer, discernment and a lot of grieving, this decision was made.”
Providence Hospitality House had operated out of a single-family house and provided living space for up to three families at any time. The 24-hour staffing provided referral services for women to access benefits, employment and housing. Women and their children stayed there from a few days to eight weeks.
Sojourner Place, founded in 1987, is located in a former convent and can house up to 11 women at any time. Onsite staff provides weekly case management and life skills classes to help the women stabilize their lives. Women can stay there for from a few months to two years.
Sister Dufault emphasized that the Sisters of Providence are not giving up on their commitment to find ways to help needy women and children in Seattle, as their foundress Blessed Emilie Gamelin first did back in 1843 in Montreal. Providence Pariseau will develop a 3- to 5-year plan to offer a place of ministry to women and children, including the possibility of seeking a partnership.
“We offer heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the many, many Sisters of Providence, associates, volunteers and benefactors who have embraced the families who have made Providence Hospitality House their temporary home, and especially to the program’s alums and its directors. At the appropriate time, we will hold a gathering and ritual to rejoice in their steadfast support and championing of the program, but also to grieve a loss that we all feel deeply.”