Lightkeepers Ministries Developing Women’s Shelter

Former Troy Apartments on South Main Street in Lamar

Former Troy Apartments on South Main Street in Lamar

Mary Moore and Connie Gangwish are taking steps to provide a temporary shelter in Lamar for homeless women.  They’re just getting started on their long term goal, converting the former Troy Apartments on South Main Street into a shelter which will be known as Lightkeepers Inn. 

“We’re working on our non-profit 501c3 status using a firm we discovered on the internet.  It’s helping to keep our costs down,” said Mary Moore, one of the co-founders.  Moore said she will concentrate on the day to day logistics of providing lodging while Gangwish will develop several forms of rehabilitation assistance for the women they hope to serve, including drug addiction. 

Part of their current work includes fund raising for the complete purchase price of the former apartments that have been unused for over a decade.  It consists of a rear bungalow, several efficiency apartments and a front office facing South Main Street.  Once it’s running, the Ministries, which is faith-based, but non-denominational, will provide from three to five days lodging for homeless women.  Moore explained, “We’re going to help them get back on their feet and provide time to make decisions regarding employment or future lodging.”  She said they aren’t competing with the Domestic Safety Resource Center which serves several counties in southeast Colorado.   

Gangwish said they’re following some of the format established by “Teen Challenge”, a faith-based drug rehabilitation program for men and women.  “We’ll offer some life skill programs such as how to budget, apply for a job or even change the oil in their cars,” she explained.  Moore added that some church groups have already begun to donate clothing, some furniture, cook and tableware to their program.  “We’ll be working with some church groups and the Ministerial Alliance, but we’re more stand alone than have an affiliation with any specific church,” she said.  Their pamphlet states that women will be able to ‘learn biblical principals which lead toward spiritual, emotional, mental, social and economic wholeness’. 

Moore took a firsthand look at rescue centers in Pueblo to see how they operated.  “I applied for an overnight stay, had my photo ID taken and spoke with some women to learn their stories and spoke with the staff.”  She said some centers allow a person to stay for up to six months, but their project will house women for less than a week.  “I saw how some people could work the system, staying in one spot for a length of time, then move to another shelter and repeat the process.  We don’t want to have anyone abuse the system that way,” she stated. 

Once the operation is up and running, they’d like to expand their board to five members from the current three.  As the donations continue to grow, they’ll begin to renovate more of the apartment complex as needed.  They plan to explain their project to the Lamar City Council on April 14 and are making plans to speak with the County Commissioners and other groups to inform the general public of their goals.  “We aren’t expecting to be seeing a lot of women with these kinds of needs,” Moore said, “But right now, there isn’t anything like these kinds of shelters between Pueblo and Garden City.”  Contact Mary Moore or Connie Gangwish at 719-691-1390 or 691-0547.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: ChurchescommunityCountyEducationFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyYouth


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