In Your Midst

Our New Neighbors

April 2009

Two new CCS projects within a few steps of St. James

         

St. James Cathedral is blessed to welcome its newest neighbors, Frederic Ozanam House and First Nations House.  These two new housing programs, operated by Catholic Community Services, serve homeless men.
 
Frederic Ozanam House

In May of this year Catholic Community Services and the Archdiocesan Housing Authority will open the doors of its newly constructed Frederic Ozanam House.  The 56-unit facility is located across the street from the Cathedral on land made available by Archbishop Brunett.

Frederic Ozanam House will serve chronically homeless men over 55 years of age who have been without housing for at least one year and who are extremely low-income.  One-half of Ozanam’s units will be occupied by individuals who suffer from chronic substance use.  The other half of the units will provide homes for people who have multiple barriers to housing, including mental illness and physical disability.  A total of 10 units will house veterans who have been referred by VA Puget Sound.

To best accommodate these residents, the Frederic Ozanam House will have a 24-hour staff and on-site supportive services, including case management, chemical dependency counseling, housing stabilization resources, and financial advisement. 

In addition, residents will be encouraged to participate in the housing program’s community life.  While each resident will have his own private unit furnished with a bed, dresser, table, refrigerator, sink and toilet, he will share common showers, a common eating area, a community recreational room with a television and pool table, and a combined library and computer room.  The men will participate in a full-service community meal plan, monthly house meetings, and optional group social outings.

For many residents, living at Frederic Ozanam House will be the first time they have experienced stable housing.  Without having to focus their attention on day-to-day survival, Ozanam residents will finally have an opportunity to improve their health, to access needed resources, and to experience the leisurely lifestyle of many of our elders.

To learn more, contact Pat Graham, program director, at (206) 441-4606 or PatG@ccsww.org.

First Nations House

Located just two blocks from St. James Cathedral, First Nations House is a culturally-based transitional housing and recovery program for homeless Native American men.  St. James Cathedral Parish offered the green duplex at a nominal rent to Catholic Community Services and the Archdiocesan Housing Authority to accommodate this much-needed program.
First Nations House opened its doors in February 2008 in response to the need for American Indian clean and sober housing operated by American Indians themselves.

“Many Native people are distrustful of social programs operated by non-Natives, and they are not likely to take advantage of available services,” said Monte Twin, First Nations program manager.  “First Nations’ success is due to the involvement of the American Indian community.  Because the house is all-Native, there is a bond that forms with the residents; it is pretty exciting to see that bond become stronger and to see these guys become more responsible, clean, and sober citizens.”

Mr. Twin emphasizes that First Nations residents are chronic-stage alcoholics and drug users who have been living on the fringes of society for their entire lives.  For them to participate in organized clean and sober housing “is exceptional.” Mr. Twin also described the spiritual healing that occurs for many of the residents during their time at First Nations House.  The residents who try to implement spiritual principles in their lives are the most likely to stay clean and sober because they realize they can experience more from life.  Mr. Twin says, “I don’t ask them, but I can see it in them.  There is a change that comes about and a spirit that enters them.  It is a miracle when it happens.”

The program aims to help residents achieve their goals by providing them with supportive services and case management.  “We currently have a seventy-five percent success rate of residents that are staying clean and sober,” Mr. Twin says.  Several First Nations House residents have achieved great success during their recovery.  One resident is working and going to school, another spends most of his time volunteering at his church, and another has started his own landscaping business.

To learn more about First Nations House, contact Monte Twin at (206) 550-2812 or e-mail montetwin@yahoo.com .
 

 

Devon Marie Gualtieri is an employee of Catholic Community Services of Western Washington and is a freelance writer and editor.  

 


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