Thirteen homes within the 12-county Diocese of Rochester are safer, more accessible and more energy efficient this winter than they were last winter, thanks in part to the Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal.
Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation used a portion of the annual appeal’s proceeds to help fund much-needed repairs and upgrades to 13 homes belonging to families, senior citizens, veterans and people living with disabilities, according to Allynn Smith, the housing foundation’s executive director. These repairs not only benefit the total of 20 people who live in those households, but also strengthen the communities surrounding these homes, she added.
“Safe, decent, quality housing is indispensable for strong families and communities. By providing needed home repairs, we ensure committed involvement, greater independence and safe housing for lower-income households,” Smith explained.
An affiliate of the Diocese of Rochester, Sheen Housing seeks to promote the self-worth and dignity of low- and moderate-income families, seniors, veterans and people living with disabilities by providing safe, decent and affordable housing. The agency does this by employing a number of techniques, solutions and programs, including the Building Hope Together Home Repair Program, which received some of the proceeds of the 2012-13 Christmas Appeal. The annual appeal, now in its 44th year, benefits the emergency funds of various Catholic Charities agencies and other affiliated agencies throughout the 12-county Diocese of Rochester. The 2012-13 appeal raised $40,264.35, and the goal for the 2013-14 appeal is $50,000.
Some of the repairs partially funded by Sheen Housing’s portion of the Christmas Appeal eliminated potential health and safety threats the homes’ residents would not have been able to afford on their own, Smith said.
“The incomes of these households ranged from as little as $6,573 to $21,574. These households are just able to survive in today’s economy. That leaves little, if any, disposable income to make necessary health and safety repairs to their homes,” she said.
For example, Christmas Appeal funds were used to pay a portion of the cost of roof repairs for two homes in Rochester and one home in Palmyra, Smith said. Christmas Appeal funds also paid for part of the bills resulting from electrical work and the installation of grab bars in a senior citizen’s home in Elmira and funded part of the work necessary to make an 85-year-old Ithaca resident’s home handicapped accessible. Some of the funded repairs made the homes more energy efficient, easing the burden of housing and utility costs, and allowing families to save money for future needs, Smith said.
All of the repairs improved the quality of life for the residents of the 13 homes and ultimately reduced those residents’ risk of homelessness, unnecessary medical emergencies, school transience or placement in an institution, she added. Proceeds from the Christmas Appeal helped Sheen Housing make those repairs possible, so donors’ contributions made a direct difference in people’s lives, she noted.
“Sheen Housing appreciates the support and assistance you provide on behalf of poor, vulnerable families, seniors, veterans and persons living with disabilities and is grateful for your partnership in our mission to provide safe, affordable, decent housing in healthy communities for all,” Smith said. “On behalf of everyone whom your gift touched, a heartfelt thank you.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: To contribute to the Christmas Appeal, download and print the donation form to mail a donation.