Member Agency Story
Opening Doors to New Homes Where Individuals Recreate their Lives
A story about Advocacy and Social Policy Initiatives featuring Catholic Social Services Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Port Richmond is a neighborhood rich in Catholic history and identity. Church steeples dot the skyline and serve as anchors for this long established community. Margaret has seen a lot of them up close. Over the past forty years, she has worked in many of the churches below the steeples, cooking for clergy, keeping the sacristy in order, and opening the church doors for parishioners to come and worship.
Always providing hospitality for others, Margaret now has a new home that is all hers at Nativity BVM Place. A one hundred year old building that served as the parish school for decades, Nativity BVM Place has been repurposed and rededicated to house seniors in one bedroom apartments that help older folk like Margaret to live independently, safely and with dignity in the communities they love.
Catholic Health Care Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is not just providing housing, but opening doors to new homes where individuals recreate their lives, begin to walk taller and come to know their inestimable worth as a child of God. Entering any of the apartments at Nativity BVM Place, one can be sure to find rich stories that slowly begin to unfold from the resident and the surroundings: from a collection of records to paintings commemorating trips abroad, every apartment is a sacred space into which each resident breathes life.
The need for affordable senior housing is profound. One hot summer day in July, one hundred and forty seniors waited in line for an application for Nativity BVM Place. Scheduled to begin at 10am, the first applicant arrived at 6am, wanting so desperately to gain her spot in the repurposed building. Catholic Health Care Services is keenly aware of this dire need and is continuing to expand the affordable senior housing program. With two senior housing communities currently in operation, Catholic Health Care Services will be opening two additional communities by 2017, providing 230 apartments to seniors across the region with more developments on the horizon. This growth will ensure that seniors like Margaret have affordable, well designed housing in the neighborhoods and parishes that they have supported and nurtured for decades.