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Catholic Health Initiatives Makes Major Gift to Support Affordable Housing in the Midwest

OMAHA, Neb. and DENVER, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Catholic Health Initiatives announced today a $6 million gift to Mercy Housing for its affordable homes for low-income families, seniors and people with special needs in Omaha and Lincoln, Neb., and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Catholic Health Initiatives, the second-largest Catholic health system in the country, is also one of the largest health care providers in Nebraska with four hospitals and other related facilities across the state.

"Part of our mission at Catholic Health Initiatives 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," said Kevin Lofton, president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health Initiatives. "Our gift to Mercy Housing and the people of Omaha, Lincoln and Council Bluffs recognizes not only the great need for safe, affordable housing in these communities, but also the great opportunity that we have to partner with Mercy Housing to change lives and improve health in new and innovative ways."

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. Founded in Omaha by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Housing has worked with Catholic Health Initiatives for nearly 12 years. In 1998, Catholic Health Initiatives 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 Catholic Health Initiatives 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. With Catholic

Health Initiatives' support, we can continue to provide affordable housing with program-enriched services in these communities for many years to come," said Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM, chief executive officer of Mercy Housing.

Catholic Health Initiatives' gift to Mercy Housing comes at a crucial time. The economic downturn and continuing challenges in the financial markets 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.

Mercy Housing has already been preparing for how best to use the gift and will begin implementing plans to complete necessary rehabilitation and maintenance work at its seven properties in Nebraska and one property in Council Bluffs, Iowa. These rental communities are home to more than 1,800 adults, children and seniors who make an average annual income of $20,453. All of the properties are at a point in their lifecycles when they need significant improvements. Each property has different needs, but work may include new windows and doors, modernized bathrooms and kitchens, and new sidewalks and walkways.

Catholic Health Initiatives, with hospitals and health care services in Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln, Nebraska City and Omaha, Neb. and Council Bluffs and Corning, Iowa, has a long tradition of supporting health and human services efforts in the region. In addition to the $6 million gift to Mercy Housing, Catholic Health Initiatives has contributed to a number of health improvement efforts through its Mission and Ministry Fund.

Since its inception, the CHI Mission and Ministry Fund has awarded approximately $2.3 million to communities in Nebraska to support health and related programs such as:

-- community assisted parenting, led by St. Mary's Community Hospital

in Nebraska City

-- a nutrition, fitness and obesity prevention program sponsored by the

Saint Elizabeth Foundation in Lincoln

-- services for end-of-life care at Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand


"This is a proud day for our Catholic Health Initiatives employees throughout Nebraska," said Robert J. Lanik, CHI senior vice president, divisional operations and president and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Health Systems in Lincoln, a CHI facility. "Because of this gift to Mercy Housing, our friends and neighbors who need it most will have access to safe, quality, affordable housing -- and that leads to better health and better communities."

About Catholic Health Initiatives

Catholic Health Initiatives is a national nonprofit health system based in Denver. The health system consists of 77 hospitals, including Good Samaritan Health Systems in Kearney, Saint Elizabeth Health Systems in Lincoln, Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island and St. Mary's Community Hospital in Nebraska City.

In Fiscal Year 2008, the CHI Nebraska hospitals contributed more than $33 million in community benefit, including charity care, community health services and care for the poor. Since Fiscal Year 2005, Catholic Health Initiatives has made capital investments of $382.4 million in its Nebraska facilities to upgrade facilities and services.

Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Healthcare Systems are ministry sponsors of Alegent Health, a health care provider with facilities in Nebraska and Iowa, including Alegent Health-Bergan Mercy Medical Center in Omaha and Alegent Health-Mercy Hospitals in Council Bluffs and Corning, Iowa.

Additionally, Catholic Health Initiatives is composed of 40 long-term care facilities, assisted-living facilities and residential units; and two community-based health organizations located in 20 states. Catholic Health Initiatives represents approximately 68,000 employees and total revenues of $7.7 billion. It is the second-largest Catholic health system in the United States. For more information, visit

About Mercy Housing

Mercy Housing, a national not-for-profit affordable housing organization headquartered in Denver, has a presence in 41 states, serves more than 109,000 people on any given day and has participated in the development, financing or operation of more than 34,000 homes. About 75 percent of Mercy Housing's portfolio is rental units, and the remaining 25 percent is homeownership. Mercy Housing serves families, seniors and people with special needs (formerly homeless, people with HIV/AIDS and the developmentally disabled). For more information about Mercy Housing, visit


Mary Elise Biegert, APR Jennifer Kostka

Director, Communication Services Associate Director of Communications

Catholic Health Initiatives Mercy Housing

(502) 495-1620 (Office) (303) 830-3323 (Office)

SOURCE Mercy Housing; Catholic Health Initiatives
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