The Center of Hope, Inc (COH) is sponsored by the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC). The COH began as a shelter for women which eventually evolved into providing homeless prevention services.
It had become apparent that the advantages of keeping families in their homes was a better solution than trying to solve difficulties after they had lost their home. The COH was incorporated in 2000 and an endowment fund was created to provide income to cover the operating costs of the organization so that 100% of all donations are directly used to provide rent and utility assistance.
The COH homeless prevention program has been an integral component of the “safety net” of organizations providing care to the needy families in the Wichita community. Our long history of working with and accepting referrals from other agencies increases their effectiveness as it is often difficult for a family to focus on the issues presented by their caseworkers when they are facing the immediate fear and reality of being homeless.
Our organization is committed to the ministry of preventing homelessness as we see the tremendous effect it has on people’s lives.
Sr Josephine Fetsch, A.S.C
In response to a request from Bishop Eugene Gerber of the Diocese of Wichita, the religious order the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ established an inner-city ministry in the former convent of St. Anthony Parish.
This ministry provided food to the poor and opened a shelter for women and children. It was known as St. Anthony House. The Adorers provided all operating costs so that 100% of donations could go to meet client needs.
The Executive Director of the program was Sr. Stella Rosenhamer, A.S.C. who was recognized as a tireless advocate for the underserved. She was recognized for this work with many awards including the JC Penney Golden Rule Award and the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award from the Wichita Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
The rent and utilities program was started, the first of its kind in the city. Community social services agencies, churches and word-of-mouth brought several hundred families and individuals to the program each month.
The shelter was transferred to Catholic Charities so the Sisters could focus on homeless prevention services.
The name of the program was changed to Center of Hope to more accurately reflect the mission of the program. The office was moved to 400 North Emporia.
Center of Hope was incorporated. A board of directors was appointed.
The religious order, Sisters, Adorers of the Blood of Christ, established an endowment to provide continued funding for operational costs.
Sr. Becky Balthazor, A.S.C. joined the staff and launched the case management program to offer long-term guidance to those clients who choose to take advantage of the program.
Stella Rosenhamer, A.S.C. retired after 20 years as Executive Director.
George Dinkel was named Executive Director.
The program continues to grow and expand with new energies and innovative ways of preventing homelessness.
Center of Hope celebrates its 25th year of service to the Wichita area.