The Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community and the St. Catherine board of directors today announced they are entrusting the national affordable housing leader, Mercy Housing Lakefront (MHL), with the management and governance of St. Catherine Residence in Milwaukee. The merger is part of MHL’s overall affordable housing strategy to strengthen community development in the city and bring additional investment dollars and jobs.
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy 119 years ago, St. Catherine Residence, which includes McAuley Apartments, provides safe, affordable housing to more than 200 women and families. Many residents have limited access to other types of affordable housing and this ministry fills a critical need in the community.
The announcement was made at the organization’s annual breakfast held today, Oct. 24, at the Italian Conference Center in downtown Milwaukee followed by an open house at St. Catherine Residence.
“When the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community began to consider potential partners to assure viability of this important ministry, we wanted to be certain that the Mercy ministry would continue,” said Sister Laura Reicks, Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community president. “Mercy Housing emerged as a strong option. Mercy Housing was founded by the Sisters of Mercy and Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM, serves as the CEO. The organization has the breadth and depth of experience in the area of affordable housing, which assured us that this will be a successful arrangement. Both ministries are steeped in the Mercy charism. Mercy Housing will ensure the continuation of this treasured ministry, which was modeled after the original House of Mercy opened by Catherine McAuley in Dublin in 1831.”
Mercy Housing Lakefront is one of the largest and most innovative community development organizations in the Chicago and Milwaukee regions. MHL has had a presence in Milwaukee since 2006. MHL has developed and currently manages 27 affordable rental properties housing 3,950 people, including, the Johnston Center Residences in Milwaukee. In addition to the Johnston Center, MHL is in the development phase with two additional projects, the Greenwich Park Apartments and Park East in Milwaukee. Both apartment buildings will serve working families.
“The addition of St. Catherine Residence is part of our mission. Our investment in the neighborhoods of Milwaukee will continue to expand as we add services, partners, dollars and jobs to the city,” said Cindy Holler, president of Mercy Housing Lakefront. “Plans are underway to deepen our roots in Milwaukee and also to look at the needs of southeast Wisconsin and expand our services there.”
St. Catherine Residence provides housing for up to 157 women in suite-style apartments, with shared baths and community kitchens. Women may rent short- or long-term and stay as long as they need. McAuley Apartments has 46 apartments; studio, one- and two-bedroom with annual leases. Singles and families enjoy affordable rents and amenities such as underground parking, an exercise and computer room. Currently, there are approximately 20 full- and part- time staff members at St. Catherine Residence. Mercy Housing Lakefront is now managing the ministry but the name and commitment to provide housing and support for women and families in the Milwaukee area remain the same.
About The Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community
The Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community is one of six communities that form the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. The Institute has nearly 3,400 sisters who serve in North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Guam and the Philippines. More than 3,200 Mercy Associates, several Companions in Mercy, over 960 Mercy Volunteer Corps alumni and thousands of co-workers in Mercy-sponsored programs and institutions also share in the Mercy mission, following the example of Mercy founder, Catherine McAuley.
About Mercy Housing Lakefront
Mercy Housing Lakefront (MHL) is one of the largest and most innovative community development organizations in the Chicago and Milwaukee regions. MHL has developed and currently manages 27 affordable rental properties enabling 3,900 people to live in hope. MHL has 26 years of experience and has earned more than 60 community development awards. Mercy Housing Lakefront and its sister-organizations are working together to fulfill a ten-year Moving Forward Together campaign to build or preserve 7,500 affordable homes, create 8,000 jobs, and prevent displacement or homelessness for 20,000 people in the Chicago and Milwaukee regions. Please find additional information at www.mercyhousinglakefront.org.