WATERBURY – Breaking the $10 million mark for the first time has not seemed to slow the momentum of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, which this year is adding a new supportive housing project to the list of services it funds. Francis Xavier Plaza Inc., a $7-million project to be built on the site of the former St. Francis Xavier School on Baldwin Street, will be serviced by Catholic Charities, which the appeal supports to the tune of $2.225 million, according to Kaitlin Leonard, appeal director.
Each year, the appeal supports hundreds of agencies and local charities. These include the Malta House of Care mobile medical clinics in Hartford and Waterbury; the Emergency Assistance Fund for parishioners in financial need; the Tuition Assistance Fund for eligible Catholic school students; parish missions such as engaged couple conferences, pro-life activities -and programs for divorced and separated people; communications services; and much more.
The 2013 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal officially began on March 2-3.
In this Year of Faith, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell has chosen the theme Charity: Our Witness to Faith for the 2013 campaign. In a brochure promoting the campaign, Archbishop Mansell writes: "The Annual Appeal is an opportunity for us to come together and witness our faith by loving and serving those who are in need in our own parishes and communities."
Many underserved people in these parishes and communities are in the city of Waterbury, which has been working with Catholic Charities and city agencies to make Francis Xavier Plaza a reality. Catholic Charities learned a year ago that the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority had approved the project. The Interagency Committee on Supportive Housing also gave it the nod. It is one of only six proposals out of 14 that were approved, according to Rose Alma Senatore, director of charities for the Archdiocese of Hartford.
In a telephone interview, Ms. Senatore said that she expects a closing date on the project to be announced by the end of March. After that, construction can begin for the 20-unit project, which will include nine 625-square-foot units, three 1,000-square-foot two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units.
Ms. Senatore said that 10 units will be for individuals or families who are 50 percent below the average median income but are in need of supportive services. The other 10 units will also be for those who are 50 percent below the average median income but are defined as working poor. Rental costs would be based on income.
The $7 million in construction costs are nearly fully funded, with $1 million coming from the Waterbury Development Authority and $6 million from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, she said.
"The appeal fills a gap once we get started," she said. As with Cathedral Green, a supportive housing project that opened in Hartford in 2009 and that Catholic Charities also supports, money is needed for ongoing services like security.
"That’s what I see happening here, that we are going to need additional money for upgrading security as well as for services that will be provided by Catholic charities," Ms. Senatore said.
"The need in Waterbury is so great, and so to have the opportunity to do a development in Waterbury with the support of the city is terrific," she said. The mayor, the aldermen, the Waterbury Development Corporation and the United Way’s subcommittee on supportive housing have all been "very supportive," she said.
She is especially grateful for the support of St. Francis Xavier Parish and its pastor, Father Paul J. Pace, she said.
The goal of the 2013 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal is $8.5 million. Ms. Leonard said she hopes it will greatly exceed that, as the 2012 campaign did.
The appeal funds agencies and charities through eight major channels. This year, for example, Catholic Charities is expected to receive 26 percent of the appeal’s disbursement; seminarian/diaconate programs, 16 percent; Catholic education and faith formation, 11 percent; retired clergy, 6 percent; the Tuition Assistance Fund, 9 percent; pastoral ministries, 15 percent; the Vicariate Outreach Program, 9 percent; and communications, 8 percent.
To contribute, make a check payable to the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal and mail to: Office of the Archbishop, Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, P.O. Box 28, Hartford, CT 06141-0028, or give online at https://appeal.archdioceseofhartford.org/Default.asp.