Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa’s Annual Report

Where to begin?

When people look back at the last year, many think of strife. A raging pandemic. Troubled politics. A planet changing before our eyes. I don’t need to remind you about the challenges we have all experienced.

Despite all we have faced, my message is one of hope and celebration as we consider the many joys we’ve witnessed over the past year. With our help needed more than ever, I gratefully share that Catholic Charities rose up to meet that need.

Our immigration staff navigated social distancing requirements to find ways to work safely with clients to establish legal residence through family reunifications, DACA, or other means. They even figured out how to teach citizenship classes on Zoom!

Shelter operations continued under modified conditions to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our residents and staff members. Our staff was heroic in their dedicated work, and we thank Providence and Sonoma County Public Health for being at our side. And we never lost sight of the most important goal: stable housing for all.

Through our housing counseling and financial assistance work, we kept thousands of families from losing homes. And we responded in Sonoma and Lake counties again and again to support those facing evacuations and loss of homes due to disasters.


Through it all, Caritas Village, a new beacon of hope, moved forward with great momentum. This past year we broke ground on the multi-purpose Caritas Center, and are scheduled to open in June 2022. In parallel, Caritas Homes, 128 units of affordable housing, is moving forward led by our partner Burbank Housing.


You have my sincere appreciation for your ongoing commitment to transforming our community one person, one family at a time.

I deeply believe in the helping hand of God. My faith is immensely strengthened when I see solutions arrive when we face seemingly insurmountable hurdles. I truly see God’s work being done through you and the extended Catholic Charities family.

Thank you.

With Love for All,

Len Marabella, Chief Executive Officer


Click here to download our complete Annual Report


Immigration & Naturalization


Catholic Charities’ Immigration Team provides legal services to over 3,000 immigrants in communities across Northern California each year.

In this time of uncertainty for our immigrant community, Catholic Charities continues to provide trusted legal services to courageous individuals and families so they can overcome barriers and build a better life – safely.

Elsewhere, immigration legal services are costly and out of reach for many immigrants already struggling to make ends meet. Many may not know the legal options available to them or have been harmed by unscrupulous charlatans in the past. We help them along the legal path.

Even as federal policy changes daily, our ten multilingual Department of Justice-accredited staff counselors stay current in their training so they can properly guide clients as policy continues to change.

A renewed investment in online outreach, as well as rural programming, has made services more accessible to our client base from Sonoma County to the Oregon Border. Expanded language offerings have extended a helping hand to our Eritrean community in Sonoma County.

For those without a legal pathway to citizenship or documentation, staff provides counsel so they can be aware of their rights. Though these can be hard conversations, the outcomes keep these families and our entire community safe.

Thanks to you, our immigrant neighbors can thrive and participate fully in our community according to the legal options available to them.


READ: Immigration – Through the Eyes of a Child…


Homelessness & Housing Solutions


Catholic Charities has navigated stable housing for over 2,000 individuals in the last three years.

How do you operate a multi-site shelter program during a pandemic? How do you house families in a climate of limited employment, shuttered schools, childcare, and government offices, and a cutthroat rental market?

There is no playbook, but after over a year of navigating this crisis with our community, the Catholic Charities Team is ready to write one. Years of proven housing leadership set us up to rise to the occasion once again to be a leader our community could count on.

Catholic Charities’ housing-focused services touch the lives of thousands of children, veterans, and other vulnerable adults facing homelessness each year. As the largest homeless services provider in Northern California, we run the full spectrum of programs from street outreach to emergency shelter to permanent supportive housing.

Despite the challenges, staff continues building relationships with members of our community seeking home. Just a few of our pandemic adaptations included the new Academic Hub which serves as a tool for parents and children managing distance learning. Multiple vaccine events were held to ensure easy access for unhoused individuals. Innovative alternative shelter sites provided safety and security for unsheltered individuals on their housing journey.

Since implementing the Housing First model in 2016, we have doubled housing placements and seen a 13% decrease in homelessness despite double-digit increases in surrounding Bay Area counties. Once Caritas Village opens in Summer 2022, we anticipate even more housing successes.

Thanks to you, formerly homeless children, parents, and adult individuals can thrive in a new home to call their own…


READ: Finding Home – Through the Eyes of a Mother…


Financial Stability and Crisis Response


Thanks to you, over 10,971 people received tools that aim to prevent hardworking families from falling into homelessness.

With the cost of living in California rising by the day, more and more families are being forced to make increasingly precarious choices. Feed their family or fill up the gas tank? Pay the light bill or pay the medical bill? Saving for the future feels impossible.

Families need a guide to help them navigate the terribly complex world of public and private resources so they never experience the trauma of homelessness.

Our team builds a bridge to these opportunities. Never a simple handout, staff help families get back on their feet so they can get ahead and participate fully in our community.

In the last year, the Financial Stability and Crisis Response Team has navigated a rental crisis, multiple wildfires across the Diocese, crippling isolation for seniors, and a crisis of food access.

The distribution of food and financial assistance is just the beginning. Following these initial conversations, our financial stability specialists and HUD-certified housing counselors continue to work with families so they can build a future where education, nourishment, and greater rental or home buying options are possible.

Thanks to you, families, seniors, and other vulnerable adults at risk of losing their homes can rest safely in the housing they have worked so hard to achieve.