By Bob Reddy (Florida Catholic)
New Paradigm transitional housing of Charlotte County was formally welcomed under the umbrella of Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice Inc. during a ribbon-cutting and blessing ceremony on March 24 in Port Charlotte.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane blessed one of the programâ€™s nine properties in western Charlotte County as the ceremony was held to symbolically celebrate the new partnership.
Bishop Dewane praised the vision and personal commitment of New Paradigm founders Kathy and David Nelson. The Bishop said they felt a personal responsibility to give back to the community and the founders filled a crucial need in Charlotte County by offering affordable transitional housing to area families who are at risk of becoming homeless.
â€śYou have grown this program to something that is a beacon for the community,â€ť the Bishop explained. â€śThis is a partnership that seemed a perfect fit from the start, meshing with the vision of Catholic Charities, which is to help all our brothers and sisters in need.â€ť
Co-founder Kathy Nelson, who will remain as Program Director of New Paradigm under Catholic Charities, said â€śthis partnership allows our program to grow, our services to expand, and for us to become a much more effective and stronger program that helps the people who need it the most.â€ť
Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo said that with this partnership, the program will have a stable financial future, provide additional services more efficiently and effectively, and reach even more families in need in the community.
Started in 2001, the New Paradigm Foundation aided families with one-time financial support for basic needs. This effort morphed into the realization that transitional housing was critically needed in Charlotte County. By 2010, Charlotte County offered several homes that could be used for this purpose and the program rapidly expanded.
Today, New Paradigm of Catholic Charities has nine properties, with 15 units that have been modernized and designated for use as transitional housing.
In addition to providing low-cost housing, the two-year program is designed to help families develop the skills necessary to live an independent life through financial training, credit repair services, counseling, and parenting classes. Clients are encouraged to raise their level of education and be motivated to grow and make progress toward independence.
The success of the merger was also credited to the support of the Board of New Paradigm, the Charlotte County Housing Services Division, and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
For more information about New Paradigm of Catholic Charities please call 941-681-2195.