Emergency Shelter for women with or without children. Open 24/7 all 365 days of the year providing 90 days in the facility with full support and resources
Transitional facility providing temporary to long term housing with supportive services and resources for women with or without children
Long term housing with support as needed for women with or without children, men with children and intact families
Today Elmira is semi-retired and although she remains involved with Samuel’s House as a project administrator and consultant, she has passed the torch to Executive Director Tara Salinas.
Tara Salinas is also a Key West Native. She received her Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Florida. She has worked with Samuel's House for seven years, learned from Elmira as well as worked through every level of case management, became Deputy Director and is now proudly serving as the Executive Director.
"I love my job and the amazing, dedicated women I get to work with. Each day provides a new challenge and ultimately an opportunity to change the course of someone's life for the better."
In 1985, Key West native Elmira Leto had a calling to minister to women in jail as they transitioned out of incarceration. This call to action was the beginning of what would eventually become Samuel's House, Inc. consisting of 3 programs that serve our community in various stages of support from emergency shelter to transitional supportive and on to permanent supportive and then long term residential housing.
After a decade of assisting women with their transition from jail, Elmira recognized there was also a growing need to assist these women with housing as they had nowhere to go. There was an increase in the number of homeless women due to a variety of circumstances including domestic violence, loss of employment, incarceration, substance abuse, mental and physical illness and other traumatic life events. The journey to provide support for homeless women became a priority.
In early August 1999, Elmira along with sixteen concerned citizens incorporated Samuel's House, Inc. as a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization with a Board of Directors. She decided to retire from her small business, Leto's Interiors and lead the effort to create Samuel’s House.
On October 1, 1999 Elmira converted her business located at the corner of Truman Avenue and Eisenhower Street into The "Mary Spottswood Women's Center" which would serve as an emergency shelter for homeless women and women with children.
Tremendous support from the community offered an opportunity to take over and renovate a leased building located within the Poinciana Housing Complex. Additional support resulted in quick renovation of the newly leased building at 1614 Truesdell Court and in December 2001, the Samuel's House "Mary Spottswood Women’s Center" opened its doors.
In June 2007, Samuel's House opened its second facility, a 16 bed transitional to long-term housing facility called "Kathy’s Hope". This facility was designated to recovery from alcohol and drug abuse for women and women with children who have been diagnosed with co-occurring disorders and women requiring a supportive environment.
In December 2010, the third facility was opened named Casa de Meredith. This facility was named in loving memory for Meredith Higgs. This building is comprised of seven two bedroom apartments and two efficiency apartments. Casa de Meredith offers affordable structured and supportive permanent housing opportunities for women, women with children, men with children and intact families.
Samuel's House Inc. is an active member of the Monroe County Homeless Services Continuum of Care and is the recipient of funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Monroe County Sheriff's Department, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, the Klaus Murphy Foundation and other family and private foundations including numerous businesses and individuals in our community who believe in and support our mission.