Catholic Partners Open Affordable Housing at New Gonzaga Family Haven

aerial view of new housing in Spokane near Gonzaga
April 21, 2022
Gonzaga University News Service

Aerial image shows new housing complex situated near Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane WA | Photo: Zack Berlat, Gonzaga University

SPOKANE. April 21, 2022 – Catholic Charities, Gonzaga University, Gonzaga Preparatory School and St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish dedicated Gonzaga Family Haven, an affordable and permanent housing community for 73 families, on March 30.

For Jerrica Ford, her husband and their children, their new home in northeast Spokane is the answer to seven years of upheaval.

“My husband worked very hard, and he was working well over 40 hours a week, but because of how expensive it is, we just couldn’t find anything,” Ford said.

“We just couldn’t get ahead enough to pay for first, last deposit anywhere. I could maybe find a place for me and the kids, but not a place for me, my husband and the kids. Especially with roommates and staying with family and things like that.”

Finally, they all – together – have a place to call home.

“Families and, most importantly, children need a roof over their heads at night before they can think about anything else,” said Rob McCann, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington. “Gonzaga Family Haven will not only help families stabilize their lives but will give them options for a brighter future.”

kitchen inside a new housing unit at Gonzaga Family Haven

Gonzaga Family Haven will include on-site wraparound services such as case management, connection with medical resources, substance misuse counseling, health and wellness classes, adult education, employment readiness and food preparation and nutrition courses.

Children may take advantage of Head Start, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, an after-school tutor lab and summer youth programs. Student volunteers from Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Prep will be key in these efforts.

GU’s Campus Kitchens plans to offer a monthly community dinner, and its Center for Community Engagement will offer adult programs developed with Haven residents through an advisory board – part of our partnership pledge to listen and “walk alongside.”

“Gonzaga University believes in the purpose and power of community, and we are excited to be a part of the Gonzaga Family Haven community,” said Thayne McCulloh, Gonzaga University president. “We are looking forward to offering many of our successful community engagement programs at the Family Haven. These service-learning opportunities, integral to the Jesuit educational model, are strategic and long-term commitments. We believe the Family Haven partnership holds the potential for Spokane to establish a national model of community-driven change.”

The goal, through the partnership and with the residents, is to change the lives of families who have experienced the trauma of intergenerational poverty, homelessness and the chaos of separation.

“Gonzaga Family Haven represents a groundbreaking opportunity for the Gonzaga Prep community to contribute service to our local community,” said Michael Dougherty, president of Gonzaga Prep. “Students, faculty and families have been eager to provide service at the Haven, welcoming our newest neighbors by building relationships and community. We look forward to this long-term relationship, and especially the opportunity to share our educational mission in service to the youth and families of Gonzaga Family Haven.”

St. Aloysius Parish, meanwhile, has provided support with donations – from shower curtains to dining room tables – and volunteers since the inception of the project, frequently responding to this question: What makes a house a home?

“Gonzaga Family Haven will be an important help to its families as they work for stability and togetherness,” said the Rev. Tom Lamanna, S.J., pastor. “Through this partnership the words of Jesus’ call in the Gospels are put into action, and we able to be loving neighbors to one another.”

The complex is the 17th tax credit property Catholic Charities has been awarded and constructed since 2012.

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