Loveland – the town, not the ski area – is known as the Sweetheart City with a long history of helping neighbors and welcoming strangers. The Catholic Church at the center of that tradition is St. John the Evangelist and parishioners there are turning the city’s reputation into reality for residents of Catholic Charities Housing’s newest affordable housing property.
St. Valentine’s Apartments will offer 48 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units that could house up to 80 low-income tenants for a low monthly rent when it opens in end of this year. Each unit will come fully furnished, with access to site-wide internet services. Outside, tenants will have access to a large, landscaped courtyard with benches, tables and play equipment.
It is no secret that the housing market throughout Northern Colorado has skyrocketed, and housing costs have nearly doubled in Loveland over the past ten years. This jump in costs and interest rates has moved many longtime residents out of the region. With 30 affordable housing properties across Colorado, Catholic Charities Housing offers concrete solutions to the challenges of housing affordability and relies on partnerships to help residents create comfortable homes. With a firm understanding of the need for affordable housing in the community and a call to action after a Sunday Mass in May of this year, St. John the Evangelist in Loveland sprang into action to help.
For weeks, parishioners passed around a second offertory basket, collecting a $7,500 for the project. In addition to monetary donations, parish member Therese Hazzard volunteered her time to organize welcome packages for all the residents. These packages are no small feat, containing blankets, towels, housewares, gift cards and more, valued at around $500-600 each. To ensure everything was covered, Catholic Charities Housing ordered approximately $20,000 in Amazon items with the help of the parish donations to be delivered to Hazzard’s home so that residents have the essentials when they turn the key in their brand-new apartments when the building officially opens in late 2023.
“It’s heartwarming to see a community come together to support each other in such a meaningful way,” shared Justin Raddatz, Vice President of Development at Catholic Charities Housing. “As a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, I am blown away by the generosity they have shown to keep our community housed. And to Therese Hazzard, we are humbled and blessed by your volunteer and monetary contributions.”
During speeches shared at the Grand Opening of Catholic Charities affordable housing property nearby, Immaculata Plaza II building in Greeley, affordable housing has been life changing.
Flora, a 72-year-old woman living in the brand-new building in Greeley said that, if not for the option for affordable housing in Northern Colorado, she would be living under a bridge. After her husband passed away, she was barely able to make ends meet for food. Now, she has a kitchen with brand new appliances, where she can walk to the store and make food for her neighbors.
The contributions of St. John the Evangelist in Loveland will directly help people like Flora in Loveland, to provide pots and pans for home-cooked meals, blankets for comfort and so much more. St. Valentine’s will serve as a protective space for dozens awaiting the day when they don’t have to worry about a place to call home.