In Your Midst

The Hunthausen Fund

Dec. 2008

Some "real-life" Christmas Stories

          The Hunthausen Fund first began awarding no-interest loans and grants to help house the working poor in October 2001.   The Hunthausen Fund “will actually open doors (real ones, not metaphorical ones) for some of our working poor and give them new hope,” Father Ryan wrote in launching the fund. “We’re calling our idea The Hunthausen Fund in honor of our retired Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen, who was a powerful and beloved champion of the poor and voiceless of this community.”

          Since that time, a total amount of $243,716 has been distributed to upwards of 216 poor families.  These average awards of $1,120 each, have moved well over 600 men, women, and children from shelters and transitional housing into homes of their own.

          The numbers alone are impressive.  But these numbers represent a tremendous impact for good on real human lives.  The following are just two stories of the Hunthausen Fund.  These are real life “Christmas stories,” the stories of families for whom there was “no room in the inn.”  Thanks to the generosity of our donors, they have found permanent housing and a fresh start.
The Smith Family

          Sean Smith writes:  “Shortly after the birth of our daughter Estella, the bottom fell out for us.  We lost our home and were struggling to find a place for our family of six.  Every place we called that would take a family was full up and backlogged on entries.  Every other place would only take Kristin and the children.  We were faced with literally having to fragment our family to survive.  Our best friends had a two bedroom condo and they opened their door to us.  We were living on their living room floor.  Our little four year old son would daily ask ‘When are we going home?’  It was heartbreaking to say the least, and we were at a loss to explain this to him.  We prayed and cried nightly and just hoped that we would soon have a home.  At last, a friend found us a rental home in Woodinville.  Our joy was short lived as we now had no money to afford the costs of moving into the house.  Our pastor contacted Catholic Community Services and secured us a Hunthausen Fund grant to cover those costs.

          “Ten days before Christmas, we moved into our new home.  We are still getting back on our feet, but at least now we are on our way to home ownership and that is due to the aid of the Hunthausen Fund.  The charity of our parish and the grant from the Hunthausen Fund kept our family together and we are stronger and much happier for the support.”
The Hill Family

          Caseworker Stacey Marron writes about the Hill family:  “They have five kids and the two youngest are under three.  They have a five year old who is autistic and so the mom, Elizabeth, had not been able to work since he was born.  So they were in a difficult situation with not a big income to work with, yet needing a place big enough for all of them to live.  The father, Norman, is in an apprentice program and is working, but it takes time for him to gain seniority.  So they really needed a helping hand to get them back on their feet again.

          “With the help of the Hunthausen Fund not only were they able to move into a house, but to move in quickly when it became available and they were accepted as tenants. Because of this they are finally able to get their autistic son into special services and are going to be able to put their four year old in Headstart.  This family had spent nine months living in the Greenlake Motel, so they have really gone through a rough time.  Now they have stability in their lives and a home.

          “Elizabeth and Norman are so grateful for the help you gave their family when they finally had a second chance.  Your fund is a great blessing for our families.”


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