At Catholic Family Center, we know that the lack of safe and affordable housing is a common and consistent issue for the people we serve. Whether newly arrived refugees, the homeless, individuals in recovery from addiction, or families born into poverty, the lack of suitable housing has a very serious and negative impact on their health and well-being and is a significant impediment to achieving stability.
Long before Marlene Bessette became President & CEO of Catholic Family Center, she and her husband sponsored a family for Christmas. It was through developing a long-term relationship with that family and then her later work when she took a Social Service leave from Xerox in 2012 to work at CFC on projects related to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in the Rochester area that ignited Marlene’s passion for this issue.
Serious housing challenges were prevalent in Rochester prior to COVID-19 and things have only gotten worse in the wake of the pandemic. Unlike many areas where rent prices have decreased during the pandemic, Rochester ranks 4th on a national list of urban areas with large increases in median rent between March 2020-May 2021, with an average increase of 19%. This exacerbates a significant housing crisis, particularly for low-income individuals, who disproportionately tend to be people of color.
Safe and affordable housing combined with services to promote self-sufficiency provide a strong foundation for families to break the cycle of poverty and provide a healthy, stable home for their families.
In order to work toward addressing that need, we are inviting you to support a fund called Moved by the Spirit in honor of Marlene Bessette’s January 2022 retirement. Marlene has committed to volunteer her time post-retirement, to develop an initial strategy to launch activities committed to increase housing stability through a variety of potential avenues. These may include:
We hope you too will be “Moved by the Spirit“, to both honor Marlene’s service to Catholic Family Center and support this innovative initiative. Your generous donation will help so many build a foundation for success rooted in a safe and stable home.
A quick overview of Catholic Family Center