The Sisters of Mercy are called and committed to a life of service, and are dedicated to the philosophy of their foundress Catherine McAuley “to serve the needy with courage and compassion.’’ The sisters spend their lives teaching and ministering in hospitals, schools and parishes. Their influence and untiring service have touched the lives of thousands of people in northeastern Pennsylvania.
In 1979, Sister Anne Paye, RSM, responded to a crisis in housing for women and children by founding the Catherine McAuley Center. Today, under the direction of Sister Therese Marques, RSM, the McAuley Center offers emergency housing in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties for homeless women and children. The facilities also provide case management and support services, including assistance in finding permanent housing.
Caseworkers work individually with families, identify needs and goals, access appropriate services, and provide transportation to appointments. The women are encouraged to apply for eligible benefits and receive assistance in their search for employment. The residents also are encouraged to save money, which can be used for a security deposit or first month’s rent on permanent housing. About 60 percent of the families that remain in the shelters for at least 20 days transition safety into affordable housing.
The grants will be used to replace the staff van at the Plymouth facility, which is used to transport clients and gather food, personal supplies and other basic necessities for the shelter; provide funding to increase organizational capacity and in support of the emergency shelters in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties, and in support of the Transitional Housing, Bridge Housing, and Housing for Women Leaving Prison programs.
The Transitional Housing and Bridge Housing programs are scattered-site transitional housing programs that serve homeless women and children living in shelters, inadequate or unsafe housing, or on the street in Lackawanna County. The programs provide housing, case management, and supportive services for one year. The goal at the completion of the programs is for participants to maintain permanent housing with adequate financial resources and supportive services for the women and their families.
The progressive multi-phase Housing for Women Leaving Prison program is the only program in Lackawanna County that provides housing and support services for this vulnerable population. It offers a continuum of services that encompass the critical pre-release period as well as re-entry into the community. Efforts are made to interview and assess the women using art therapy as a tool. Once accepted into the program, the case worker helps to facilitate the woman’s release to the program. The woman receives case management as she continues her transition back into the community.
(Information from Paul Krzywicki
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