Day 4: Serving one who Served Us

The Lorain Family Center, known in the neighborhood as “8th Street,” offers services to help individuals and families meet their immediate basic needs. Services provided include hot meals, choice pantry, clothing/furniture referral assistance, prescription and utility assistance, and GED instruction. It also serves as a day shelter for persons who are homeless or otherwise vulnerable.

Originally established in 1984 as St. Mary’s Hospitality Center, the center provides a place in central Lorain for persons who are homeless, hungry, or otherwise vulnerable to receive assistance. In the mid-1990’s the name of the center was changed to Catholic Charities Lorain Family Center to better reflect our work with individuals, children and families in the community.

Here is a story from 8th Street as told by a staff member…

While performing outreach services, the Human Services Coordinator at 8th Street informed the Veteran’s Administration of a veteran, James, who visited the center and needed their assistance. The VA rep spoke with James (who is classified as special disabled) and he stated that he was currently living with a relative, who no longer had any room for him to live. Therefore, James was considered a homeless veteran.

During discussions with the VA rep it was discovered that James was a Korean War veteran. He served as an Officer with the United States Air Force. With the collaboration of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Outreach, Catholic Charities, and the Veteran Service Office, this homeless Korean War veteran was able to transition into housing at Nativity Manor. Catholic Charities paid for the deposit and the Veterans Service Office paid the first months rent. With the teamwork of Catholic Charities, ODJFS, and the Veteran Services Office, this veteran was able to find housing.

Collaboration is a core belief within the Catholic Charities network – here, our Lorain Emergency Assistance staff was able to collaborate with the VA and ensure that we could properly served this gentleman who, years before, had served all of us in the most selfless way possible.

Photo Credit: Steve Liss, Americanpoverty.org

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