Gonzaga Family Haven celebrates its grand opening with the local community | News


After nearly three years of construction, the 72-unit Gonzaga Family Haven is open to help families thrive.

The dedication and blessing of the Gonzaga Family Haven took place at the Haven on March 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Haven is a collaboration between Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington (CCEW), GU, Gonzaga Preparatory School, and St. Aloysius Parish. Although this is the 17th tax credit property by Catholic Charities, it is the first such collaboration.

CCEW President and CEO Rob McCann oversaw much of the project and served as emcee for the ceremony.

“Here’s the reality,” McCann said. “Education will solve intergenerational poverty long before Catholic Charities does. Education is the key. This project is built on an idea of ​​education and our partners are all educators.

The Haven offers a variety of amenities and services to ensure the success of families residing there. All buildings in the Haven have English and Salish signage, an act McCann says is important to the community and Catholic charities.

Facilities include after-school tutoring and tutoring programs, reflection and community spaces, splash pool, outdoor play equipment, indoor bike path, community garden and kitchen, dog park and playgrounds. artwork created and curated by Native American artists.

Global services include case management, mental health and addictions counselling, youth programs, connections to summer camps and scholarships, adult education and employee preparation, access to primary health care and neighborhood medical resources, easy access to Spokane Transit services, and a pathway to scholarships at Gonzaga Prep and GU. Classes at The Haven are offered in personal health and wellness, budgeting, financial literacy, and food preparation and nutrition.

Sarah Yerden, director of marketing and communications at Catholic Charities, oversees public relations for the project.

“The partnership is going to be truly transformative for the residents and families who live at Gonzaga Family Haven,” Yerden said. “These wraparound supports are really fundamental to their work as they move forward as a family.”

The ceremony took place outdoors in the middle of Le Havre. The Spokane Salish School opened the ceremony with “iʔ syil̓x iʔ qʷilm̓s», the popular Salish song.

McCann followed with an acknowledgment from the ground and a welcome speech.

“We thank the stewards of this land who have lived and continue to live here from time immemorial,” McCann said. “This land holds the knowledge, culture and spirit of the people of the river. We are grateful to be on this earth and ask for his support as we work to manifest our intentions in this gathering of hearts, minds and spirits.

CCEW Housing Director Jonathan Mallahan followed with a thank you speech for partners and sponsors, including fundraising groups, architectural firms, Spokane Salish School, the Head Start program, Haven residents and more.

“The secret sauce to designing Gonzaga Family Haven is that we asked Sisters Haven residents and Rising Strong program participants ‘what would the perfect affordable housing community look like to you?’ “Mallahan said. “They gave us all these great ideas, so as you see the finishing touches here, those are coming from our residents.”

Following Mallahan are GU President Thayne McCulloh, Gonzaga Prep President Michael Dougherty and St. Aloysius Parish Pastor Fr. Tom Lamanna. The three representatives of the main collaborators of the project took the time to reflect on the project and to thank the others.

“Jesus kept it very simple,” Dougherty said. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself. It is therefore with much love that, on behalf of the Gonzaga Prep community, I welcome our new neighbors.

Lisa Brown, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, then spoke about the importance of solving the housing crisis in Washington and this project. Albert Tripp, City Manager of Airways Heights, spoke on behalf of the Washington State Housing Commission. Tripp was involved in allocating federal housing tax credits, which played a significant role in financing the Haven.

The Gonzaga Prep Choir conducted by Keith Whitlock performed “Shelter Your Name,” before Bishop Thomas Day of the Diocese of Spokane blessed the Haven.

A directional reflection was then performed, inviting participants to stand and face in the direction of the reflection.

Peg Haun-McEwen, Haven’s community director, recognized east as the direction of sunrise and new beginnings and the direction of the child. Molly Ayers, assistant dean of GU’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE), honored the south as a leader in warmth and women.

Randall Schleufer, representative of the Spokane Salish School and art curator for the Haven, honored the West – the direction of the sunset, the elders and the ancestors, and asked them for guidance in living our lives as we should. Finally, PC Hightower, pastor of historic St. Ignatius Mission, blessed the north as the direction of winter that makes us brave in the face of the cold.

The ceremony ended with a dedication of the wading pool to the Kolonko-Baker family in honor of Monique Kolonko and Ted Baker, a married couple who worked at Catholic Charities for nearly 20 years.

After the ceremony concluded, attendees were invited to explore the property, with balloons and signs declaring the spaces available for viewing. All units are fully furnished and welcome baskets have been prepared with handy household items, such as linens, detergents, and cooking and cleaning supplies to give to families upon arrival.

“No one can solve unemployment and mental health issues until they know where they’re going to sleep at night,” Yerden said. “That’s the first step.”


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