Funds will be used for bridge housing center

By Sam Catanzaro

Venice-based St. Joseph Center has been awarded a $5 million from Jeff Bezos to help solve homelessness.

This one-time grant from Bezos’ Day 1 Families Fund, awarded to organizations working to to solve family homelessness, will help St. Joseph Center establish a hub for families experiencing homelessness that will combine bridge housing with integrated programs designed to help families return to self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.

“The trauma of homelessness is incredibly harmful to families,” said Dr. Va Lecia Adams Kellum, president & CEO of St. Joseph Center. “Support from the Day 1 Families Fund will have a profound impact on our ability to protect families and help them regain stability.”

St. Joseph Center is one of 32 nonprofits across the U.S. to receive the second annual Day 1 Families Fund grants, as part of a broad investment by the Day 1 Families Fund to help solve family homelessness. The Day 1 Families Fund issued a total of $98.5 million in grants this year.

Grant recipients from around the country include: Bethany House Services, Catholic Charities Eastern Washington, Catholic Social Services Alaska, Coburn Place, Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Covenant House, Family Gateway, FamilyAid Boston, ForKids, Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan, Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, HOPE Services Hawaii, HopeWorks, Interim Community Development Association, Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, Mary’s Place Seattle, MIFA, Our Family Services, Pathways of Hope, St. Joseph Center, St. Joseph’s Villa, St. Stephen’s Human Services, St. Vincent de Paul, The Road Home, The Road Home Dane County, The Whole Child, UNITY Of Greater New Orleans, Upward Bound House, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky, West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness, and YWCA Columbus.

In the past, Bezos and Amazon have been criticized in Seattle for not doing enough to support homeless individuals and those in need and have become focal points in the city’s debate surrounding traffic, housing prices and homelessness. When Seattle approved a tax in May 2018 on large corporations to combat the city’s homelessness crisis, Amazon pushed-back and temporarily halted construction planning on a high-rise building development near its headquarters. Seattle lawmakers quickly repealed the tax.

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