Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Charities leads the way in permanent supportive housing

the Inland Register

(From the April 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

On Dec. 20, 2012, Father Bach Haven opened in downtown Spokane to provide 50 units of permanent supportive housing to the chronically homeless. It was the first project of its kind in the city, funded entirely by tax credit dollars, and aimed at breaking the cycle of homelessness by offering not just a roof, but on-site services and support that create a nurturing environment and greater opportunity for long term stabilization. Father Bach Haven has remained 100 percent occupied, with a waiting list since inception.

Catholic Charities Spokane (CCS) and Catholic Housing Communities are proud to be at the forefront of this emerging trend, and equally proud to continue to develop similar projects that transform lives and communities.

Buder Haven, at 201 W. Second Ave., and the adjacent Marilee, a project of the Volunteers of America in collaboration with CCS, are in their final months of construction and expected to welcome residents by mid-summer. In that same time-frame, ground will break on Father Bach Haven III, at 24 W. Second Ave., the site of the former Spokane Farmers’ Market. Another Haven is planned for the same site before the end of 2017.

When these projects are complete, Catholic Charities will have assisted over 250 people in securing permanent housing, thus shedding the title “homeless.”

The supportive housing concept is often associated with other terms, such as “Housing First” or “Rapid Re-housing.” The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness defines Permanent Supportive Housing as “a combination of housing and services designed for people with serious mental illnesses or other disabilities who need support to live stably in their communities.” It further defines Housing First as “an approach and framework for ending homelessness that is centered on the belief that everyone can achieve stability in permanent housing directly from homelessness and that stable housing is the foundation for pursuing other health and social services goals.”

Catholic Charities’ commitment to the homeless and mentally ill populations, and firm belief in the dignity and worth of each and every person as a child of God, make participating in the development of safe and stable housing for the needy and fragile an obvious fit for our mission. As John Fisher, Housing Development Manager for Catholic Charities, said, “Our goal is to continue to build until we’re able to solve the homeless issue in Spokane.”

Our projects expand beyond Spokane and include Guadalupe Haven, located in Othello, which is slated to open in late May 2016, providing homes to farm worker families. St. Michael’s Haven in Walla Walla will welcome homeless veterans and their families beginning in May 2016 as well.

All the above-mentioned projects are fully funded by the State of Washington Tax Credit Commission and the Housing Trust Fund or other local governmental funding sources, meaning that no private donations and no fundraising campaigns were needed for any of these projects. Tax Credit project funding covers the cost of land acquisition and bricks and mortar for all the buildings as long as Catholic Charities agrees to operate the project as affordable housing long-term.

“One aspect of our mission at Catholic Charities is to house the poor and vulnerable and these projects bring us one step closer to providing stability to our most marginalized community members,” said Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane.

(For a complete list of Catholic Housing Communities properties, please visit

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