← Older posts

Rob’s Blog – Remember the Working Poor

At Catholic Charities we spend a great deal of time talking about the poorest of the poor.  We talk about those who are homeless, those who are alone, those who are abandoned.  We talk about those who live invisible lives and those who live on the fringes of day to day survival.  We talk about the “uns,” as I refer to them in my talks. The unseen, the unheard, the unfed, the unhoused, the unhealthy, the undocumented, and the uncared for. These are the most vulnerable, most at-risk, and most fragile among us. Certainly they are a significant focus of what we do at Catholic Charities, 365 days a year.

But we don’t seem to talk as much about the next group on the socio-economic ladder. Sometimes we call them “the working poor” or “low-income-stabilized.”  These people may once have been an “un” of some kind, but at some point, maybe with some help, maybe by the  power of their own sheer will, they pulled themselves up just a little bit…just enough.

These are the folks who fight the hard fight and are trying to do things right. They get a job; sometimes two or three jobs at once. They don’t spend money on frivolous things. They scrimp, save, and pay their rent on time, but still struggle to put healthy food on the table for their children. They find a way to get by and survive unexpected events and expenses. But they struggle. They struggle to keep the heat on and the utilities paid. They borrow toilet paper from their jobs and make regular trips to the food bank and hope their neighbors don’t notice. They struggle to buy groceries at the end of the month, and they struggle to buy their kids new clothes or school supplies. They just barely keep themselves from being one of the poorest of the poor on the streets and feel trapped in the cycle of working themselves to the bone while teetering on the edge of disaster.

These may be the people who pass our food to us from drive-thru windows. They make our coffee, do our nails, wait on our tables, or clean our offices, hotel rooms, and school bathrooms. These people are doing the things we tell our kids to do when they grow up…work hard, never give up, solve your own problems, and take care of yourself. They are doing these things, and yet they suffer. Worst of all, they live under the constant threat that if just one thing goes wrong, they could end up in crisis. That constant stress is their reward for doing the right things.

Recently, Pope Francis addressed a group of young people in Guidonia, a small village near Rome. He told them, “If I say I am Catholic and go to Mass, but then don’t speak with my parents, help my grandparents or the poor, go and see those who are sick, this does not prove my faith, there’s no point. Those who do this are nothing but Christian parrots – words, words, words.”

Let us not be parrots! Let us remember the poorest of the poor, the homeless and hungry. Let us also remember the working poor and the disappearing middle class — all of the men, women, children and seniors who struggle to get by on their own even though they are trying their best. Let us honor them. Let us be ready to serve and stand with them in their struggle.

Many prayers,

Rob McCann
President & CEO
Catholic Charities Spokane

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Rob’s Blog – Remember the Working Poor

Catholic Charities USA Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants and their Families

Catholic Charities USA Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants and their Families

Press Release – January 25, 2017 from CCUSA

Alexandria, Va. – Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) expressed profound concern about President Trump’s immigration-related executive actions and the potential impact these actions will have on those who are most vulnerable.

“Pope Francis has urged people not to close the door on migrants and refugees. In concert with the Holy Father, we believe we must move from attitudes of defensiveness and fear to acceptance, compassion and encounter. As the U.S. Catholic bishops have said, this is not an either/or situation for us.  We can protect our citizens and, at the same time, we can welcome newcomers.  Our commitment to care for those who are most vulnerable resides at the core of our faith,” said Sister Donna.

As it has done for over 100 years, Catholic Charities will continue to stand in solidarity with refugees, immigrants and their families.  We will work diligently for responsible and comprehensive immigration reform. Certainly, concerns about safety must be addressed, but not through measures that do more harm than good.

Our Catholic heritage calls us to seek justice for newcomers. Our history as a faith community in the United States has been as an immigrant Church in an immigrant nation. We are singularly focused on serving the needs of poor and vulnerable individuals and families, providing compassionate care that respects the dignity of each person, as mandated by the gospel.

  • About Catholic Charities

    Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for the Catholic Charities ministry nationwide. CCUSA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 8 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds.

    CCUSA Contact: Patricia Cole pcole@catholiccharitiesusa.org (703) 236-6218

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Catholic Charities USA Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants and their Families

Spokesman Review update on norovirus at the House of Charity

This is article was published by The Spokesman-Review. To view the original, please visit http://spokesmanreview.wa.app.newsmemory.com/publink.php?shareid=003a96731

Click here to make a donation to the House of Charity.

House of Charity says norovirus nearly gone

Cleaning crews try to disinfect building from top to bottom

By John Stucke

johnst@spokesman.com, (509) 459-5419

A norovirus outbreak that infected dozens of homeless people and staff at Spokane’s House of Charity this week has been largely contained.

As the weather chills and costs mount, House of Charity managers aimed Wednesday to finish disinfecting the homeless shelter at the corner of Pacific Avenue and State Street on the eastern edge of downtown.

Half of the shelter’s employees became ill, requiring the help of community volunteers, said Rob McCann, executive director of Catholic Charities.

The giant tents and equipment that were set up on the street outside the shelter to house uninfected homeless people have cost about $10,000 so far.They were set up with cots, food, water and toilets for clients while infected people were quarantined inside the main building.

On Wednesday, cleaning crews using a bleach solution were trying to finish disinfecting all but the top floor of the main building, where about four dozen infected clients remain.

The cleaning effort included washing floors,walls and railings, and everything from linens to salt shakers, dishes and coffee pots.

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes diarrhea and vomiting. Another outbreak made people at the Union Gospel Mission ill.

The virus is commonly spread in close quarters such as cruise ships and nursing homes.

McCann said the norovirus outbreak has cost the nonprofit about $20,000 so far, prompting a request for donations.

Bouten Construction was among the first to help with a $5,000 gift.

If the cleaning effort is successful, the shelter will be able to resume the distribution of mail. Staff hand out 54,000 pieces of mail each year to homeless people. Those letters may include checks such as veterans benefits and Social Security income.

“We serve some of the most fragile and vulnerable people in our community,” McCann said.

Assistant Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the five-day outbreak brought out the best in Spokane.

The outbreak came weeks after the House of Charity opened its doors as an expanded overnight shelter, offering an overflow sleeping area for men and women downstairs. About 210 people stayed at the shelter the night before the outbreak.

Volunteers assist with the decontamination of the House of Charity in downtown Spokane on Wednesday following a norovirus outbreak.


Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Spokesman Review update on norovirus at the House of Charity

Press Release: Update on House of Charity Outbreak



For Immediate Release

November 13, 2016

9:18 am

Contact: Rob McCann, President & CEO, Catholic Charities Spokane 509.979.4251

Ann Marie Byrd, Development Director & Media Relations, Catholic Charities Spokane 509.251.4572

Update on House of Charity Outbreak

This morning the House of Charity, located at 32 W. Pacific Ave in downtown Spokane reports the following data:

Sleeping Accommodations:

140 patrons slept outside in tents provided by the City of Spokane– upon arrival these particular patrons showed no symptoms

60 patrons showing symptoms were assessed by medical personnel from Spokane Regional Health District and the Spokane Fire Department- patrons determined to be ill were admitted to the HOC shelter building for overnight accommodation and shelter care.


Currently, patrons inside HOC, who fell ill, are being fed and hydrated according to Spokane Regional Health District directives with the assistance of the Red Cross. Patrons showing no symptoms – to include fever, diarrhea, or vomitin –  are being fed and hydrated outside.

Security Measures:

Security and community health measures are on-going with support from Spokane Fire Department, Spokane Police Department, Providence Health Services, American Red Cross, Spokane Regional Health District, and the City of Spokane.


Separate sanitation facilities have been made available to all patrons with assistance from American On-Site and the City of Spokane. Providence Health Services has continued to launder and deliver sanitized linens, towels and cloth. Personal protective measures are in use per Spokane Regional Health District guidelines.

Thank you to our community partners who have assisted in our efforts to provide the best possible care to our homeless community. As a reminder, we ask the community at large to keep their distance from the House of Charity in order to assist in our efforts to keep exposure to a minimum.

If you would like to support us in our efforts, please consider donating online at: https://www.catholiccharitiesspokane.org/donate-now

A listing of ongoing HOC needs can be found at: https://www.catholiccharitiesspokane.org/in-kind-gifts

For more information: 509.979.4251 or follow our Twitter and/or Facebook feeds for latest updates.

Catholic Charities affirms the dignity of every person, partnering with parishes and the greater community to serve and advocate for those who are vulnerable, bringing stability and hope to people throughout Eastern Washington.

509.358.4250/P.O. Box 2253, Spokane, WA, 99210-2253/CatholicCharitiesSpokane.org

Posted in Blog, Press Release | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Press Release: Update on House of Charity Outbreak

Bishop Skylstad accepts Volunteer of the Year award from CCUSA

bishop-skylstad-collageOn October 12, 2016, Bishop William Skylstad officially accepted the honor of Volunteer of the Year at the Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering. We are so blessed that this talented, compassionate, and humble man who is a genuine servant of the Lord shares his gifts with Catholic Charities Spokane on such a regular basis! To witness his work with those who are vulnerable and in need is an honor and something we all can learn from. Thank you Bishop and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!

Learn more about the wonderful volunteer work of Bishop Skylstad in this video that was submitted to nominate him for the award.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Bishop Skylstad accepts Volunteer of the Year award from CCUSA

Sisters of the Holy Names Announce Sale of Convent and Portion of 65 Acre Property to Catholic Charities Spokane





Contact: Sister Kathleen Hilton, SNJM
Sisters of the Holy Names
Phone: 910-734-3761
Email: khilton@snjmuson.org

Contact: Rob McCann Executive Director
Catholic Charities Spokane
Phone: 509-744-3448
Email: rmccann@ccspokane.org

Sisters of the Holy Names Announce Sale of Convent and Portion of 65 Acre Property to Catholic Charities Spokane

Catholic Charities purchases Convent and 34 acres of property for its new “Rising Strong” Program and affordable senior and family housing

Sisters propose to permanently preserve 31 acres of land including entire Spokane River frontage in collaboration with Spokane County Conservation Futures Program and other public agencies.

Spokane, WA (September 27, 2016) – The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.- Ontario Province announced today that Catholic Charities purchased the Convent buildings and a portion of its 65 acre Spokane Campus on Fort George Wright Drive in Spokane, Washington. Catholic Charities plans to adaptively re-use the main Convent building for a new innovative social services program called “Rising Strong” in a unique collaboration with Empire Health Foundation. Empire Health Foundation provided $1.6 million to Catholic Charities to go toward the purchase as a program related investment in this exciting project that will aim to reduce the number of children being removed from their homes by Child Protective Services.

In addition, Catholic Charities, in partnership Spokane-based Inland Group, will use a portion of the property to develop affordable housing for both seniors and families, with great care taken to preserve the spiritual and ecological characteristics of the property. Catholic Charities also plans to retain the Chapel for prayer and occasional Mass and other Convent facilities, in support of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Spokane’s mission to reveal God’s love to the poor and vulnerable. The Sisters selected Catholic Charities in early 2016 after a two year property evaluation and a selection process that concluded at the end of 2015. The art studio and some of the Sisters’ Administrative Offices, including the Development Office, which focuses on fundraising and donor relations, will remain at the property under a rent-free lease with Catholic Charities.

The Sisters also propose to permanently protect and conserve nearly fifty percent of the property, including the entire Spokane River frontage and remaining 31 acres of land surrounded by the River, in collaboration with The Spokane County Conservation Futures Program and other public agencies. The Sisters’ property has been selected by The Conservation Futures Program as the highest priority property for purchase by the program and currently is being evaluated for acquisition by the agency.

“We selected Catholic Charities because their service to Spokane residents and their commitment to stewardship of the property are consistent with our history and mission in this community and our values and goals for the future of the property,” said Sister Kathleen Hilton, who is leading the property transition. “We have served Spokane for more than a century and we appreciate the community’s support of our efforts as we transition the property. Proceeds from the sale will help fund long term housing and care for our aging sisters and also enable us to continue our ministry of education, and providing social services, and financial assistance to organizations who serve the poor, especially marginalized women and children.”

“We’re very thankful to Empire Health Foundation for enabling us to purchase the Sisters’ property.” said Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane. “In our opinion, this property is indeed a sacred space and we take very seriously our obligation to care for it and use it in a way that continues the incredible history of the Sisters reaching out to those in need. We look forward to our continued partnership and service to the fragile and the poor in Spokane as we move forward with our plans for social services and senior and family housing on this great site.”

The Sisters’ Spokane Campus, located at 2911 W Fort George Wright Dr., includes approximately 65 acres, two buildings totaling 77,000 square feet of space with residential living units, administrative offices, a chapel, common dining and recreation areas, an art studio, gathering spaces and retreat facilities. Although the Sisters have used the property for housing and care of Sisters since 1967, the entire property has long been zoned and planned for high density housing by the City of Spokane. Preliminary approvals for development of the property were recently granted by the City of Spokane.

The sale price and terms were not disclosed. Craig Soehren and Mike Livingston, Kiemle & Hagood Company, are serving as the exclusive listing broker for the Sisters of the Holy Names for the property sale.

About the Sisters of the Holy Names Spokane Campus Long Range Planning Process: Given the age and configuration of the buildings, the demographic profile of the Sisters, and the many changes and advancements in health and eldercare delivery in society, the Sisters initiated a long range planning process for the property more than two years ago. Because the Sisters’ expertise and experience has been focused on their mission of education, the Sisters have looked to others with the needed professional expertise to manage the increasing long term housing and healthcare needs of its members. The Province transitioned sisters from the Convent to Brookdale at South Regal (formerly Harbor Crest) and nearby apartments during 2013-14 for housing and a residence to meet the care needs of individual sisters.

About The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary: The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary is an international congregation of Catholic women religious and associates dedicated to education and the full development of the human person. The religious community was founded in Quebec, Canada by Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher in 1843. Today, more than 800 Sisters world-wide focus on their mission and ministry through various educational opportunities, especially for the underserved, including primary, secondary, and higher education, arts, and music. The Sisters arrived in Spokane in 1888 prior to Washington statehood. In Spokane, the Sisters built Holy Names Academy at 1216 N. Superior and Holy Names College at 1116 N. Superior, later moved to Fort Wright College along the Spokane River, serving thousands of students over many decades. They continue to be actively engaged in several Spokane ministries of education, pastoral services, and social service outreach, including Holy Names Music Center and Transitions of which they are formal sponsors and cosponsors respectively. Since 1967, housing, administration, and care have been provided on the 65 acre Spokane campus.

About Catholic Charities Spokane: Since 1912, Catholic Charities has provided social services to people of all denominations in the 13 counties of Eastern Washington on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane. In 2014, more than 70,000 different homeless, low income and working poor individuals were assisted by Catholic Charities’ 300+ staff members. More than 6,000 volunteers give their hearts and hands through Catholic Charities programs each year. Programs of Catholic Charities include homeless shelters, mental health counseling services, maternity and pregnancy support initiatives, senior services, furniture bank, childcare, emergency assistance, rapid re-housing for the homeless and food security projects Additionally, Catholic Charities owns and self-manages close to 1000 units of affordable housing for families, individuals, seniors, the disabled, farmworkers and the chronically homeless. Every service offered by Catholic Charities is available to people of all faiths and backgrounds. Every dollar donated to Catholic Charities is for service in Eastern Washington programs and services.

About Inland Group: Operating for more than 30 years, Spokane- based Inland Group specializes in high density residential development and construction, with a focus on affordable housing. Inland Group develops and builds high density residential and commercial projects. From affordable family housing developments to luxury resort communities, independent living retirement communities to college residence halls, Inland Group has the knowledge and expertise to tackle unique construction and development challenges. The company is actively developing and constructing projects throughout the western United States. Inland Group includes a seasoned team of professionals in all aspects of construction and development.

Posted in Blog, Press Release | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Sisters of the Holy Names Announce Sale of Convent and Portion of 65 Acre Property to Catholic Charities Spokane

2016 Caring for Kids luncheon an inspiring success!

On Tuesday, September 20th over 300 supporters attended the 20th anniversary Caring for Kids Luncheon benefiting St. Anne’s Children and Family Center and Morning Star Boys’ Ranch. What an inspiring celebration! We took a look back at the decades of service these programs have provided in our community and were moved by the words of author Mary LoVerde who challenged us to “Stay Connected to What’s Really Important.” Each year, this event feels like a reunion with guests greeting each other with huge smiles and warm hugs all about the room. Thank you to our sponsors and to everyone who attended – this year or in years past. Thank you for Caring for Kids!

Please click on the logo below to watch the video sharing the incredible histories of St. Anne’s and Morning Star.

20th Anniversay Caring for Kids


Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on 2016 Caring for Kids luncheon an inspiring success!

Gleason Initiative Foundation awards CCS $45,000

On September 13th, Dan Garske, Ray Hattenburg and Dave Martin (members of the Gleason Classic board) presented a $45,000 check from Gleason Initiative Foundation to Rob McCann and Bishop Skylstad.

The proceeds come from another successful Gleason Classic Golf Tournament held on August 2, 2016. With these monies, Catholic Charities will be able to assist individuals and families who are suffering the effects of ALS or other neuromuscular diseases. This might mean providing utility assistance, caretaker services, mobility devices, or projects to improve life at home.

We are blessed to be beneficiaries of such a worthy cause and blessed to be inspired by Steve and his Team Gleason every day! #NoWhiteFlags #AwesomeAintEasy



Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Gleason Initiative Foundation awards CCS $45,000

CCS Disaster Response supports National Preparedness Month

Windstorm. Wildfires. Icestorm. While the Inland Northwest may not be fraught with frequent floods or threats of tornadoes, we have learned that our community is not at all immune to sudden disaster. Are you prepared?

Catholic Charities Spokane has always been there in times of need, but after devastation touched our region many times in recent years, our agency is now working to formalize response protocols by building relationships with the city and community partners, and we offer Disaster Relief Services to our parish families and the public.

September 2016 is National Preparedness Month sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security. National Preparedness Month encourages Americans to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities and is a part of a governmental effort to strengthen the United States’ preparedness capabilities whether from terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Individuals are encouraged to take important steps like getting an emergency supply kit, making a family plan, being informed about the different emergencies that may affect them, as well as taking the necessary steps to get trained and become engaged in community preparedness and response efforts.

Catholic Charities Spokane recognizes and supports the need for not only organizations but individuals to be prepared, so “Don’t wait! communicate! Make your emergency plan today!” Follow our Facebook page for tips and resources to aid you, your family, friends and others throughout the weeks of September.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Bob Cepeda

Disaster Response Coordinator

Catholic Charities Spokane Safety and Security Team

bcepeda@ccspokane.org | (509)624-7821 Ext 124

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on CCS Disaster Response supports National Preparedness Month

Posted on by lsimpson

St. Margaret’s Shelter, a program of Catholic Charities Spokane, is proud to announce a partnership with Priority Spokane to administer a new program in local schools aimed at addressing homelessness among students and their families. The complete details are in this press release provided by Priority Spokane.


Media Contact:  Ryan Oelrich, (509) 499-0536; PrioritySpokane@outlook.com

Website:  www.priorityspokane.org  


Spokane County has seen a 60% increase in the number of homeless students over the last 5 years.

 SPOKANE, Wash. – July 5, 2016 Priority Spokane is proud to announce it has secured funding and will be launching an initial pilot project to house, support, and stabilize homeless students and their families in three schools in Spokane County.  Those schools are Logan Elementary, Deer Park Elementary, and Arcadia Elementary.  The in-school pilot will begin in September 2016 and run through June 2019 (3 school years).  The pilot will provide important data which will be evaluated to assess impact on student homelessness across Spokane County, where there are almost 3,000 homeless students identified annually.   The funds supporting this program come from Providence Health & Services, the Spokane Regional Health District, and the Inland Northwest Community Foundation.

Priority Spokane is also proud to announce it will be contracting with St. Margaret’s Shelter of Catholic Charities to administer the program placing specially trained community health workers in the schools to identify and work with homeless students and their families.  Resources have been garnered that will address the student’s housing, health care, and academic progress as well as the parent’s vocational skills, financial literacy, employment, and overall stability.  The pilot program was designed based off of research conducted by Dr. Deanna Trella and Dr. Timothy Hilton of Eastern Washington University on Priority Spokane’s behalf in 2015.

About Priority Spokane

Priority Spokane is a unique collaboration of organizations working to create a vibrant future for Spokane County.  Our goal is to foster measurable improvements in key areas of community vitality.  By focusing efforts on a few priorities associated with economic vitality, education, the environment, health and community safety, Priority Spokane aims at creating a thriving community for all who live and work here.  In 2014 Priority Spokane was the recipient of the RWJF Culture of Health Prize after the successful implementation of a $200,000 grant from the same organization to lower high school dropout rates.  Priority Spokane is now focused on mental health and homelessness issues specifically the stabilization of homeless students in K-8th and their families in Spokane County.  For more information, visit www.PrioritySpokane.org


← Older posts