SAN BENITO — The clients of La Posada Providencia had all their needs met this fiscal year.
This is according to the recently published annual report by the shelter for the 2015-2016 year.
During the past fiscal year, the shelter provided services to more than 300 clients from 21 countries across the world.
In fiscal year 2014-2015, the shelter served about 300 clients.
In the year prior to that, more than 1,000 clients were served.
According to the report, 100 percent of clients had their otherwise unattainable needs for safe shelter and food met.
La Posada Providencia, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence, is a ministry for people in crisis from around the world, who are seeking legal refuge in this country.
The shelter staff provides a safe and welcoming home, mentors to promote self sufficiency and cultural integration, and imparts values “which witness God’s Providence in our world.”
For program director Sister Zita Telkamp, the success of the shelter only solidifies the mission.
This was only made possible by those who shared their time and talents volunteering, tutoring, driving and money.
“You have kept out lights on, gas in our vehicles and food on our table,” she said.
In addition to the positive numbers, the shelter has a new building and has implemented new programs.
Last April, the shelter opened a new pavilion that was built on site for clients use. The $20,000 pavilion was made possible by a number of organizations, including the Sunburst Rotary Club, District 5930 of Rotary International, Boggus Ford, carpenter Jimmy Vasquez, Sam Uribe Electric and Casa Engineering.
Construction on the 20- by 30-foot screened-in structure started took about three months to complete. About 15 volunteers at one time lent their hand to the building, which also has sufficient lighting and fans inside.
The building provides space for staff, clients and volunteers to gather and hold activities, like having classroom lessons and hosting presentations for visiting groups.
In 2016, the shelter also established the Volunteer Appreciation Program. A luncheon was held during National Volunteer Appreciation Week inside the newly built pavilion honoring all those who dedicate their time to La Posada.
“La Posada never stops working for the benefit of the hundreds of men, women and children who come through our doors every year,” La Posada Development Coordinator Alma Rock said.
“We are constantly looking for ways to improve our services and infrastructure. We never know when an influx in clients will occur, so we must always be prepared to serve.”
All of the shelter’s clients are referred to them by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or local immigration attorneys.
They are in the legal process of seeking asylum, residency or some other legal alternative.
While they wait for their cases to advance through the court system, most of these individuals have no place to go and arrive at La Posada’s doorstep with nothing.
Staff members ensure they receive the necessary legal aid, health care, social services and other relocation assistance.
In addition, staff members help clients become familiar with the values, customs and social practices typical in the U.S., including currency, personal finance and employment practices.
Many asylum seekers arrive in the U.S. with both physical and emotional scars from their journeys from places as far as Africa, Cuba, Mexico and Asia.
This year, a bulk of their clients came from North and Central America.
Most are fleeing for various reasons, including civil unrest, fear of government control, political unrest or religious persecution.
The shelter sees a lot of mothers with children who have fled their home countries out of fear, sometimes leaving their significant others behind.
Some arrive alone and some arrive with whole families.
“Without La Posada, many of those clients could end up homeless with nowhere to go,” Rock said.
While they await the outcomes of their legal cases, at La Posada they are treated with dignity and compassion, she added.
Self sufficiency program outcomes for clients staying longer than eight days and receiving a case management plan
80 percent showed improvement in their understanding of the relationship between following well-balanced meal plans and achieving good health.
90 percent acquired basic English and conversational skills.
70-80 percent of clients received a health-related referral when residing longer than six weeks.
80 percent acquired basic understanding of U.S. geography, social and economic skills.
80 percent gained employment skills and completed milestone requisites for employment.
100 percent of the children and infants with health issues were given referrals and taken for follow-up visits.
95 percent of children residing longer than six weeks enrolled in school and attended regularly throughout their stay.
Total revenue: $675,868
Total expenditures: $659,003
Net assets, end of year: $562,489
Countries of Origin in the fiscal year: 21
Africa (73 clients): Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Somalia, Sudan
Asia (8 clients): Bangladesh, China, India, Syria
Europe (3 clients): Belgium
South America (8 clients): Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela
North and Central America (217 clients): Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, USA