Catholic Charities, a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Albany, is committed to active witness on behalf of the Scriptural values of mercy and justice.
Catholic Charities, recognizing human need at all stages of life, responds to all persons regardless of race, creed or lifestyle, with special emphasis on the economically poor and the vulnerable.
Catholic Charities serves and empowers persons in need, advocates for a just society, calls forth and collaborates with women and men of good will in fulfillment of its mission.
Continuum of Housing and Support Services
The Catholic Charities Housing Office was established in 1984 with the development of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing. Today, CCHO operates four SRO residences in Albany and Troy as well as twenty-one family apartments in Albany’s West Hill, Arbor Hill and South End neighborhoods, in addition to two emergency shelters. The agency serves nearly 200 individuals at any given time and close to 1,200 individuals over the course of one year. CCHO has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to provide safe, affordable housing and supportive services to people who would otherwise be homeless. It also aims to cooperate with other organizations in the development and management of such housing and to work with tenants to create greater self-sufficiency and independence.
For over thirty years, St. Charles Lwanga Center has provided direct emergency shelter to homeless men in the City of Albany. The program began in 1972 when a group of 13 clergymen formed a hostel committee out of concern for the men who had no place to reside. Almost 35 years later
St. Charles Lwanga Center is now a program of Catholic Charities Housing Office. This consolidated agency is a model of continuum of care, providing for the fulfillment of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and ongoing support se rvices. St. Charles Lwanga Center (SCLC) admits approximately 400 homeless men each year for emergency short-term shelter.
Mercy House provides refuge for approximately 300-350 homeless women and their children, who are in need of shelter each year. Mercy House opened its doors in May of 1977 in response to a growing need for safe shelter options for women in crisis. Sister Rosemarie Marrantino, a Sister of Mercy, recognized that there existed no such option for women in the Capital Region. To this day, Mercy House is the only all-women’s nonexclusive homeless shelter in the Capital Region. With the support of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, an agency which has been providing services since 1917, Sister Rosemarie worked to design an emergency shelter where women could come together in safety and, with support, begin to reconstruct their lives and regain self-sufficiency.
On July 1, 2000, Mercy House became a part of Catholic Charities Housing Office (CCHO) as a result of a large programmatic consolidation. The re-organized CCHO is a mirror of Albany’s continuum of care for the homeless. CCHO has programs that provide emergency, transitional and permanent housing specifically designed and targeted to the homeless.
The Catholic Charities Family Housing program has been serving people coming out of the homeless shelter system, families living in substandard housing, people coming out of halfway houses, those referred by community treatment residences, and others who fall 80% below the median income for the area for over 15 years. Many of the families who reside in Catholic Charities Housing units earn minimum wage, are on a Department of Social Services budget, or receive Social Security income. These families are often struggling to reintegrate into the community after such catastrophes as bankruptcy, foster care placement, drug and alcohol relapse, mental health issues, and/or loss of employment or entitlement benefits.
The goal of the program is to offer permanent, safe, and affordable housing to otherwise homeless families and individuals. The case management staff works with each tenant in those units to provide support services based on each tenant’s specific needs. Through the work of the case manager, the program aims to stabilize families and build a stronger sense of family and community among them. Our residences are located in the West Hill, Arbor Hill, and South End neighborhoods of Albany.
Single Room Occupancy:
The Catholic Charities Housing Office (CCHO) manages four SRO residences in the Capital District, three in Albany and one in Troy. CCHO serves over 250 primarily ex-homeless individuals annually through our SROs. Our SROs with their supports are key to people making a fresh start.