Friendship is at the Center

Just over ten years ago I met “Sister Pat.” At the time, Patricia M. McKeon, RSM, was executive director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation in Hartford. She was my team lead on one of several Hartford Commission to End Homelessness in the Capitol Region committees organized to create the Commission’s implementation plan. Our team, comprised of many organizations doing the good work of supporting and serving the homeless, created “strategies to increase supportive housing and affordable housing.” I was representing Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity.

Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation is one of those organizations. St. Elizabeth House is one of those good works. St. Elizabeth is a transitional home providing the homeless a path to a better life — a return to self-sufficiency and independence. 

Two weeks ago, Mercy Housing’s Associate Executive Director Judith Gough invited me to tour the just completed renovation of St. Elizabeth House. The work is an impressive testimony to what can be done to create a welcoming place that provides the homeless respect, dignity, and support, along with what I believe is the basic human right to decent, safe shelter. Although Sister Pat retired last year, her presence could be felt throughout the new construction. Her team should be proud to know that a good strategy, implemented by a good organization, can lead to a good result.

Hartford Courant reporter Vinny Vella’s article, “A New St. Elizabeth,” and Cloe Poisson’s photos tell the essential story about what Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation is doing to make the world a better place.  

Don Shaw, Jr.
Writer and Editor

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