Sister Tesa Fitzgerald is on a mission. Through her non-profit Hour Children, the Catholic nun seeks to keep families together by bringing affordable housing to women with children who have been released from the New York State correctional system and are in need of a steady place to live. According to a Journal profile on Sister Tesa, more affectionately known as Sister T, the non-profit has provided homes for 74 families.
Made possible through what Sister T refers to as "grant soup," the non-profit has raised $9.4 million from a collection of state and city agencies, including the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance program. To date, Sister T has developed four buildings with two and three bedroom apartments for Hour Children; the most recent of which is on a property on 12th Street in Long Island City that the nun bought from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn for $610,000. Despite LIC's median asking rent of$2,802, the average rent in an Hour Children apartment is $500.
The building's not only provide a reasonable and steady place to live for women and families who have been through the wringer, but also a sense of community between the building's inhabitants. "They've all worked hard to rebuild a life outside of prison," Sister Fitzgerald told WSJ. "They deserved to live somewhere nice." In addition to a space in which to live, Hour Children sees that every apartment is designed and decorated to suit the families. "When you out there on the street," a Housing Coordinator for and recipient of an Hour Children home told WSJ, "you don't think someone like Sister Tesa could love a total stranger. I'm glad she loves me."
· Nun Helps Ex-Inmate Reunite With Their Kids [WSJ]
· Hour Children [official]