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 Spokane and Volunteers of America create housing for the homeless

the Inland Register

(From the August 18, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

A new housing complex for the homeless was blessed July 28 in downtown Spokane. (IR photo courtesy of Catholic Charities)

Close to 200 guests gathered on the morning of Thursday, July 28, to help celebrate the grand opening and blessing of Buder Haven and The Marilee, a collaborative housing effort between Catholic Charities Spokane and Volunteers of America (VOA).

Monique Kolonko, Associate Director of Seniors and Housing at Catholic Charities, kicked off the ceremonies by welcoming guests. “What you see before you is the answer to the question, ‘What are we doing about the homeless problem in Spokane?’” she said. “These buildings are a tangible reminder that we are addressing the problem.”

Bishop Thomas Daly offered a prayer and commented on the valuable services that Catholic Charities and VOA both provide in the Spokane community in reaching out to marginalized individuals and families as Jesus called us to do.

Emcees for the event were Rob McCann, Executive Director at Catholic Charities Spokane, and Fawn Schott, CEO and President at Volunteers of America. The two men graciously thanked the Washington State Tax Credit Commission, Spokane Housing Authority, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, the City of Spokane, Spokane County, Wells Fargo, Catholic Housing Services of Eastern Washington, Catholic Charities and VOA board members and staff members, and the numerous partners who helped fund the $10 million project.

Additional accolades were given to Inland Construction of Spokane and Nystrom Olson, the build and design team that worked closely with both organizations to bring the projects to reality.

Buder Haven is named for Gustavus and Katherine Buder, parents of Sister Madonna Buder of the Sisters for Christian Community. Sister Madonna and Marilee Roloff, former CEO and president of VOA, for whom The Marilee is named, were both in attendance and shared their histories of working with vulnerable populations and the significant ways in which low-income housing helps to stabilize individual lives that are so often riddled with addiction, poverty and trauma.

Spokane’s Mayor David Condon spoke about the importance of these types of partnerships in creating better opportunities for all individuals to live and thrive in Spokane, the “City of Choice.” He presented the Mayor’s Coin honor to both Sister Madonna and Roloff.

The ceremonies concluded with an official blessing of Buder Haven and The Marilee by Bishop Daly, followed by self-guided tours of both properties.

These two new housing communities have a total of 100 units, a mix of one-bedroom and studio apartments, and are designed to be permanent housing for formerly homeless individuals. Each complex will have a property manager and a social service coordinator dedicated to assisting and connecting residents with employment opportunities, education, food assistance, and other necessary services.

Sacred Heart Parish and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes provided support and donations to assist in bringing the projects to fruition.

Mike Phalen, a Sacred Heart parishioner and volunteer, was instrumental in organizing and collecting donated household items for each of the apartments.

The project is still in need of household items such as towels, cookware and cleaning supplies. To donate, call Phalen at (509) 624-9869 or email

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