Compassion in Action: Housing in the Time of Need

Compassion in Action: Housing in the Time of Need

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By Adelene Gallego Ramos

Their greatest fear was that they would not be able to live together as a family after the baby was born. And that they would be homeless. Again.

Ricardo and Bernadette were living at a shelter at Grace Baptist Church and counting the days when their baby girl would be born. The shelter did not allow babies, and the waitlist for shelters that did accept families with babies was long. Too long. The parents-to-be were running out of time.

Then their story made it into the Mercury News. That’s how Catholic Charities heard about the couple with the baby on the way, but no home to live in after the baby was born.

Catholic Charities’ CEO, Gregory R. Kepferle, was drawn to their story and knew that the agency had to help.

“I was reminded of the Holy Family,” said Kepferle. “Joseph and Mary were homeless when Jesus was born in a stable. This family was in a church shelter and needed our help. We could not turn our backs on them.”

Thanks to a landlord they work with, Catholic Charities found a studio apartment for the family in downtown San Jose. The agency will cover their rent until they find jobs, and will also help the couple find jobs by providing them with employment training and placement assistance.

This is just the beginning of Bernadette and Ricardo’s story with baby Serenity.

“They have a long journey ahead of them,” said Greg. “Our community will do what we can to help them become self-sufficient and stable. We want to see Serenity grow up in a happy and safe environment, and never know the fear of being homeless.”