In Your Midst


Fall 2001

The Kingdom of God is manifest
when we bring the healing power
of God’s love to the poor, the sick,
and the needy

Retired Archbishop
Raymond G. Hunthausen

Jocelyn is making macaroni and cheese casserole when Tonya dances into the kitchen.

“Mom, I have to start saving for the prom,” Tonya says. “I guess I need a job.”

“Agreed,” says Jocelyn as she pours cheese over the noodles. Tonya is the kind of daughter anyone would be proud to have. She’s a standout athlete and a leader in her high school’s student government.

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“I have tried hard not to let my kids be affected by our situation,” Jocelyn says. “I have tried to keep things as normal as possible.”

Jocelyn was proud of the way her children behaved while they were in the homeless shelter. “Many volunteers complimented me on them,” she says smiling. “A lot of the other kids there acted out. But not mine.”

‘Tonya says shyly, “My best friends knew my Dad left us and wouldn’t send us any money. They knew where I was living. They couldn’t call me and it was hard to call them. I had to be back there every day at six and on my cot by nine. I read a lot of books.”

Jocelyn and her two daughters lived in the emergency shelter provided by The Archdiocesan Housing Authority (AHA) for four months. Jocelyn winces when she thinks that if she had not received help from The Hunthausen Fund, she and the girls would still be there.

The Hunthausen Fund is a new outreach program of St. James Cathedral, managed by AHA. Named for Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen, a powerful and beloved champion of the poor and voiceless, the fund provides grants and no interest loans to families in shelters. The money is to be used to pay first and last month’s rent — plus damage deposit — so families like Jocelyn’s can leave the shelter behind and move into their own homes.

Father Michael G. Ryan, St. James pastor, says, “During these recent years of prosperity, at least one in six children — over 12 million youngsters nationwide — has been living in poverty. Their prospects, even after many overhauls of our welfare system, are not looking any better.” Father Ryan adds, “Sadly, the parents of these children are left with impossible balancing acts as they try to pay for bare necessities: housing, groceries, childcare, and healthcare.”

Jackie O’Ryan is Public Affairs director at Catholic Community Services and a St. James parishioner.

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