I wish to thank all of you for coming together in this celebration
of 10 years of work in developing affordable housing, joining together
to share with the staff and board of St. Clare’s as well look forward to
two new projects—180 Sudbury and 200 Madison—being brought to life.
This has been a very long and very short ten years. St. Clare’s
came together because there was, and is, a real need for decent, secure affordable housing. When we first came together we would have been
delighted to have created a few units of affordable housing. 177 units
later, we have achieved more than we thought possible and there are more
than 250 new units just over the horizon.
It hasn’t been easy. Funding isn’t easy to obtain. There have
been outbursts of opposition that leapt past NIMBYism to “Not in
their back yard”. Finding ways of ensuring that there are supports in
place for more vulnerable people to be able to successfully live in our
communities is an ongoing and essential, but not simple, work.
But this work is truly worthwhile, truly essential. Living
in communities that St. Clare’s has worked to develop are people who
have moved from homelessness to a place of their own. Some have gone
back to school; many have gone onto employment. We’ve even had someone
move out because they were able to buy a condo. The range of skills and
talents and dreams of those that have found a home with St. Clare’s
is inspiring and a humbling reminder of why our work is so important.
It is hard to not see the need around us. People sleeping on the
streets; overcrowded shelters; affordable housing waiting lists that
are 10s of thousands long. Those that are a part of the work of
St. Clare’s, and other efforts to respond to homelessness, see those
in need and take it to heart. You pray for us and those we work for.
You reach into your pockets, give of your time, devote your lives to
make a meaningful contribution to addressing the problem of
homelessness and the personal challenges so many marginalized
individuals face. Your practical compassion changes the world
around us and gives hope for the future.
10 years ago, when we started out, St. Clare’s was a small group
of people committed to sharing our resources as best we could to meet
a real human need. We knew that we couldn’t do much on our own
so we found dedicated people to work for us and on behalf of those
who we offered a home to. We found a core of support in the faith
community that enabled us to go beyond reflection to achieving
something in the here and now. We were surprised by the
willingness of all levels of government to share in our vision.
Lenders were found that were confident that we’d be successful in
building our projects. Social agencies dealing with the homeless
have formed partnerships with St. Clare’s that have permitted truly
life transforming work to be done. And individuals, foundations and
corporations have come forward to ensure that gaps in resources
wouldn’t become a barrier to our effort to make a real difference in
the lives of the vulnerable among us. St. Clare’s Multifaith Housing
would have achieved nothing without you.
Again, thank you for sharing in our work and in this celebration.
Let us go into the future together, sharing what we have to ensure
others will have something to share.