Catholic Health Initiatives Donates $6M to Mercy Housing for Work in Affordable Housing Sector

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorOmaha, Lincoln, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa–Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is donating $6 million to Mercy Housing for its work in the affordable housing sector. The company builds affordable homes for low-income families, seniors and people with special needs in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa. CHI is one of the largest health care providers in Nebraska with four hospitals and other related facilities across the state.  “Part of our mission at CHI is to reach beyond the walls of our hospitals and health facilities and work with other providers of health and human services to build healthy communities,” says Kevin Lofton, president and CEO of CHI. “We recognize the great need for safe, affordable housing in these communities.”The donation, which will fund much-needed capital improvements and supportive programs, is the largest ever for the nonprofit housing organization based in Denver, Colo. Mercy Housing has worked with CHI for nearly 12 years. In 1998, CHI became one of Mercy Housing’s strategic health care partners, a formal partnership that enables Mercy Housing to increase access to affordable housing and health care in the communities that CHI serves.“Our work in Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs is at the cornerstone of where Mercy Housing was founded, and we’re proud of the low-income families, seniors, refugees and people with special needs who have found stability and success at these properties over the years,” says Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM, CEO of Mercy Housing. “With Catholic Health Initiatives’ support, we can continue to provide affordable housing with program-enriched services in these communities for many years to come.”CHI’s donation comes at a time when the economic downturn and challenges in the financial markets continue to make it difficult for nonprofit organizations such as Mercy Housing to fund upgrades for housing units while still addressing the huge and growing demand for affordable housing.With this money, Mercy Housing will begin rehabilitation and maintenance work at seven of its rental properties in Nebraska and one property in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which are home to more than 1,800 people who make an average annual income of $20,453. All these properties are at a point in their lifecycles when they need significant improvements, including new windows and doors, modernized bathrooms and kitchens, and new sidewalks and walkways.