When Reverend Rodney Bourg from Most Holy Trinity Church in Covington encountered Rita, a parishioner who was 89 years old with no living family and a home she could no longer afford, he reached out to Stephanie Dupepe from CCANO’s North Shore Pastoral Center. Rita lost her husband and her son within the last two years and was left with massive credit card debt and medical bills. Stephanie quickly determined that Rita’s housing costs were far above her means, and she was struggling to keep up the house. CCANO first assisted with covering some immediate needs such as utilities and helped Rita apply for SNAP benefits. However, there were more complex issues to address, so Stephanie reached out to community partners.
Rev. Bourg found pro bono services from parishioners for legal and real estate assistance, which allowed Rita to complete probate transactions and list her home. A Boy Scout troop cleaned up her garden and cleared out some clutter. Stephanie worked with Christopher Homes so Rita could find housing for an affordable percentage of her fixed income. Once the house sold, volunteers from Stepping Stones Ministry (Family Promise) secured a storage unit for her furniture and personal items, packed everything up, and moved everything out over multiple days. A local congregation in Lacombe had a house on their property and let Rita stay there until her apartment at Rouquette Lodge in Mandeville was available. Through Stepping Stones Ministry’ advocacy, Rita was awarded a monthly pension from Veteran Affairs due to her deceased husband’s years of service in the Army. Rita then used the sale of her house to pay off her debts and her car note.
This community collaboration lifted Rita out of a potentially dire situation and blessed her with long-term affordable housing and a stable budget. Catholic Charites strives to build strong, effective relationships with other providers so that clients like Rita can thrive.
Learn about the North Shore Pastoral Center here.