Shelter is among the most basic needs of any person. When a family's occupational source of income or physical frailty limits their ability to have enough money to afford safe housing, they are vulnerable to living in sub-standard, overcrowded conditions or homelessness. To help respond to this need, Caritas Housing Initiatives (Caritas Housing) builds and rehabilitates affordable housing for people on society's economic margins.
Simultaneously, Caritas Housing partners with social service partners, such as Catholic Charities Housing Transitions Program, to offer social services to facilitate self-sufficiency and positive changes in the lives of residents.
Since its inception in 1998, Caritas Housing has acquired, renovated, and built 580 units of housing for low income families, seniors, and special needs populations throughout Clackamas, Multnomah, Douglas and Washington Counties.
- building new decent, affordable and safe housing for farmworkers—a vital but often underserved part of our state's employment base
- acquiring, preserving and renovating valuable but neglected housing stock for low income families, seniors and disabled residents
- redeveloping brownfields and community eyesores to spur neighborhood enhancement—improving the structural environment and reducing incentives for criminal activity
- partnering with the Home Builders Foundation to build transitional housing for homeless, teen mothers
Future projects include developing independent living apartments for people with mental illness, redeveloping an abandoned property in Grants Pass into housing for seniors and families, and continuing to serve current residents through residents services, responsive property management, and prudent asset management.
Caritas Housing further fulfills Catholic Charities' mission of serving the most poor and vulnerable of our society by housing the homeless or near homeless, partnering to provide services and resident stability to the marginalized, and working with public and private partners to stabilize families, seniors and disabled people throughout the Willamette Valley.
In the fall of 2013, Portland State University student Chris Chesbro volunteered at our Kateri Park residence in SE Portland as part of a Capstone called "Mobilizing Hope". The goal was to ask students "How does your particular faith background inform how you view, approach and engage in social activism?" To see the Mobilizing Hope Capstone blog, click here.
Each student was also asked to join a community partner in Portland where s/he could contribute to a social cause. Chris joined us at Kateri Park, working with our resident children whose families are refugees from all over the world. He asked people he met at Kateri Park the question he had been asking himself all term, "What is hope and what does it mean to you?" The answers are in the video below: