* The Tri-Parish Collaborative is made up of three St. Vincent de Paul Conferences of Fullerton’s Three Catholic Parishes – St. Philip Benizi, St. Mary, and St. Juliana Falconieri
One of the Tri-Parish projects is the Michael Clements Miniloan Program to help keep hard-working people in the homes they already have. Fullerton is estimated to have 272 homeless or unhoused persons, with 70 sheltered and 202 unsheltered, according to the 2022 Point-in-Time count, which is 37 less than in 2019.
Housing costs in Orange County are the fifth most expensive in the United States, with the median price for a two-bedroom apartment falling at $1,546 a month. This requires a person to make $24.88 per hour in order to meet HUD guidelines for affordable rent for a one-bedroom unit. As many people do not meet these standards, a simple, unexpected expense, such as a medical bill or the death of a family member, can easily become the breaking point that puts someone in an unstable living situation.
- Fullerton is suffering a housing crisis where our teachers, police officers, retail workers, and many others are not able to afford housing close to where they work, and more of our vulnerable populations are finding themselves homeless. Our population is aging and will be comprised of fewer working-aged families and more retired seniors.
- Fullerton is suffering a health crisis with a growing number of opioid-addicted residents ending up on the streets, homeless.
- Fullerton is suffering an economic crisis as more and more of the jobs in our region do not pay enough money for a family to afford housing, so commute times get longer, and more find themselves homeless.
The Financial Institution Used for the Operation of the Michael Clements Miniloan Program
Funds for the Michael Clements Miniloan Program are deposited and withdrawn through an account created at the Notre Dame Credit Union for this program and registered under the name of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference of St. Philip Benizi Parish.
(1) Applicants to the Michael Clements Miniloan Program must first petition any one of the three St. Vincent de Paul Conferences at the three Catholic Parishes in Fullerton for consideration in the program.
(2) Two kinds of loans are given in this program:
- A low-interest loan to pay back (refinance) high-interest “payday” loans and/or credit card debts impeded the petitioner’s ability to remain in the apartment or home where the applicant resides.
- A low-interest loan to cover the expenses of the first and last month’s rent plus a deposit to allow a person with income but who is homeless (living out of one’s car or spending one’s income to cover the cost of sleeping in a hotel) to move into an apartment.
(3) As per the long-established protocols of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a member from the petitioned St. Vincent de Paul Society will conduct a home visit and/or interview with the person requesting assistance to validate eligibility. The primary requirements to become eligible to receive a loan from the Michael Clements Miniloan Program are:
- Proof of sufficient income to be able to cover one’s expenses, including rent for an apartment, following reception of the loan. The low-interest loans provided by the Michael Clements Miniloan Program are intended to reduce the debt burden of the applicant and/or to help cover the applicant’s move-in expenses (1st and last month’s rent along with security/cleaning deposit). However, it is imperative that the person petitioning for such a loan prove that he/she will have sufficient income to remain in the apartment following the reception of this low-interest loan.
- Completion and/or willingness to complete a financial literacy program provided through the St. Vincent de Paul Society to improve the chances that the person will be able to manage his/her financial resources well enough to stay in the apartment after receiving the loan.
- Along with the acceptance of point b. above, a budget would be created by the borrower(s) with the assistance of the person conducting the home visit. Both the budget numbers and the borrowers’ willingness to create one are considered important for the successful management of this program.
- Loans are approved by a committee composed of the three Chairs of the three St. Vincent de Paul Societies of the three parishes of the three Catholic Parishes in Fullerton.
Benefits (besides the Loan)
Those applicants for whom the miniloans are approved will also receive:
(1) A checking/savings account with the Notre Dame Credit Union with $50 within it
(2) Ongoing financial counseling as the receivers of the loans are deemed useful.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. – James 2:14-17