Catholic Charities Inn provides shelter and support to families facing housing insecurity
A warm bed, a safe space, a playroom for children, and a compassionate team of staff committed to making a difference -- these are just a few of the things you'll find at the Catholic Charities Inn (CCI), a temporary emergency shelter that opened this summer by Catholic Charities Boston in partnership with the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC).
Within weeks of opening in late June 2023, the 45-room shelter had reached capacity, serving 44 families -- many with young children. The shelter is expected to stay open for approximately two years as Catholic Charities works to respond to the severe housing shortage and the influx of migrants in need of shelter across the state.
"As an agency, we will continue to do everything we can to support those who are affected by the housing shortage first-hand," said Beth Chambers, vice president of Basic Needs. "These families not only need shelter, but they also need medical resources, information about the school system, guidance on the process of seeking employment, and a support system they can rely on."
Chambers estimates that 80 percent of the families living in the shelter are new arrivals to the U.S., many having fled persecution and turmoil in their home countries with little to no belongings. CCI Shelter Director Mirtha Lara and shelter staff have been working tirelessly to accommodate the clients' varying needs, from working with Marjean Perhot, vice president of Refugee and Immigrant Services, to secure on-site translators, to working with caterers on increasing the residents' access to culturally relevant meals, which are funded by the state.
"We want this to be a place where families can get back on track," said Kelley Tuthill, president of Catholic Charities Boston.
Tuthill said the agency is grateful to have many partners in the community who are deeply invested in supporting the families living in the Inn, including Rebuilding Together Boston, which recently donated 30 backpacks to the shelter for young residents who will be heading back to school.
Others in the community have stepped up to ensure that residents are educated on maintaining a safe environment, such as Boston Fire Department Lt. Henry Perkins, who recently presented a fire safety demonstration and donated fire safety equipment for the residents.
"We are so grateful to our generous partners who share our commitment to ensuring the safety of vulnerable families with children," said Tuthill. "Together we can ensure that our guests can receive the support they need to rebuild their lives."
As the largest of Catholic Charities' emergency shelters, the Inn has already begun to make a tangible difference, offering hope for a brighter future to dozens of families in need. Still, Tuthill said, there is more to be done.
Catholic Charities Boston has put together an Amazon Wishlist, available at ccab.org/give, with items that residents at the shelter are in greatest need of, from everyday clothing to school supplies to basic household items to help the residents store their belongings.
"We are determined to help these families and will do everything we can to help them become self-sufficient," said Chambers. "Above all, though, what we can offer them is compassion."
Catholic Charities operates four shelters, and the Catholic Charities Inn is the largest in operation. To learn more about how the Agency is supporting the state in the midst of the housing crisis, visit ccab.org/helping-families-in-need.
SHANNON LYONS IS THE PR AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER FOR CATHOLIC CHARITIES BOSTON.