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Stories of Impact: Westside CARES

Tags: Stories of Impact

Joanna French

Westside CARES proves that it takes the generosity and commitment from the community to assist our residents in need. Through the partnership of 21 member churches on the west side of Colorado Springs, many individuals and families receive the emergency assistance and support necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.

Established in 1984, Westside CARES emerged when a temporary shelter called the “Poor Farm” closed its doors in 1984. Once the residents of this emergency shelter lost their housing, several churches came together to help, eventually creating Westside CARES. Last year, Westside CARES provided emergency rent assistance for 156 households, utility assistance for 930 households, 203,760 meals through six food pantries, 1,414 bus passes, and 3,595 clothing vouchers.

During the summer of 2013, a family of three came to Westside CARES asking for help. Though the father had recently started a new job, his first paycheck would not arrive for two weeks and the family had no means of paying their first month’s rent. Knowing the father’s job would sustain the family once he received his first paycheck; Westside CARES gave the family one time emergency rent assistance to stabilize the family in the interim. Without these essential services, many individuals and families in El Paso County would struggle to meet their basic needs.

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