Since launching the Caritas Village Capital Campaign four years ago, we have seen our community step up in ways we could never have imagined. It has been our greatest honor to build something with you that will forever change how Catholic Charities addresses homelessness in Sonoma County.
Today, Catholic Charities has been recognized once again for its vision and service to the community. We have been selected by a nationwide team of homelessness experts to receive a $5M leadership award from the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund to fund our needle-moving work to provide shelter and support to families experiencing homelessness.
This is a very big gift, and a very big social issue. Between this one-time gift and the continued support of our amazing existing family of donors and funders, we believe we can make large strides toward ending family homelessness in our community.
Catholic Charities will use these funds to get families sheltered, housed, and stabilized as quickly as possible. A key component of that will happen through Caritas Center, our new emergency family shelter slated to open in downtown Santa Rosa in summer 2022.
As you know, Caritas Center includes 192 family shelter beds in private rooms, onsite childcare and academic support, onsite physical and mental healthcare through our partner Santa Rosa Community Health, and comprehensive housing services. We are also partnering with Burbank Housing to develop 128 affordable housing units on the same site.
When Caritas Center opens, we will be able to help thousands more families each year… families like Michelle’s.
“Catholic Charities helped me during the hardest time of my life. All along the way, they surrounded us with love and cherished my family’s experience.
After all we went through, they helped us believe in ourselves again. I am so thankful to their team for helping us find a home,” said Michelle, a former shelter resident.
The Bezos Day 1 Fund award will partially fund services and operations for Caritas Center during the initial 3-5 years of operations, as well as innovations in six key areas of our work with families experiencing homelessness: (1) Diverting families from shelter (2) Outreach (3) Shelter (4) Help finding housing, (5) Stabilization once housed, and (6) Improving racial equity and outcomes.
We are deeply grateful to the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund, a charitable foundation created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and a committee of the leading homelessness experts to address the immediate needs of young families experiencing homelessness. This year, the Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $96.2 million in one-time grants to 32 organizations across the country, and we are excited to see the impact of this philanthropy in our region and beyond.
Most importantly, we are grateful to you and our family of supporters who have been with us from the beginning, and who will be with us in the future as Catholic Charities continues to develop game-changing solutions to poverty and homelessness, trusting that the community will step up to bring our dreams to life.
I am humbled, grateful, excited, and inspired. Please keep us in your prayers as we work to steward these funds for the good of every child who is hoping for a home.
With love for all,
Len Marabella, CEO Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa