Susan Walker, Executive Director, Outreach and Engagement

Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Fund: Donate to Larry’s Legacy  

My name is Susan Walker and I am the Executive Director of Outreach at Catholic Charities. Part of my job is supporting our partnership with parishes throughout the diocese. During my years as a parish staff member, I learned that there is a lot a parish community can do to support at-risk families, but there are a lot of needs that are just beyond their ability to respond. That’s where a collaboration between Catholic Charities and the parish can be so effective.

Larry’s situation is a perfect example. When Fr. Bob introduced Larry to me and explained his impending eviction, and inability to find suitable housing, a community of care began to form around Larry. Catholic Charities was able to locate an apartment he could afford that was safe and secure. His home health agency was able to maintain services to him. Nativity parishioners were more than willing to donate appliances and furniture for his new home.

When it appeared that timing would not work, and Larry would be formally evicted, we were able to find even more resources to assure his safety. If not for the Emergency Assistance Fund, there would have been no funding to support his stay in a motel. His alternatives were dire: he could either remain in his apartment past the eviction date or spend a couple of nights on the street. If he stayed, the formal eviction would mean a lengthy time homeless while he re-qualified for housing. If he left, he would need to find shelter outside as no temporary shelter was available for him, and he had no family or friends to stay with even for a day or two. Both options were unacceptable.

I am always amazed at how a few dollars can make the difference between shelter and homelessness. In Larry’s case, it was the motel rental which totaled about $150. It’s not an exorbitant amount of money. The motel was anything but fancy….. just basic shelter for two nights. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the motel avoided a real threat to his life: an elderly, wheelchair bound man sleeping under a bridge could suffer serious consequences to his health and his safety.

I am so grateful to my colleagues in Community Housing, who simply would not quit until we found a solution for Larry’s living situation, and to my friends at Nativity parish who surrounded him with care. I’m also extremely grateful to every person who donated to the Emergency Assistance Fund – not knowing who their gift will impact, but acting out of generosity and care for every member of our community.

Join Larry’s Community of Care and donate now.

Catholic Charities Emergency Assistance Fund: Donate to Larry’s Legacy  

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