For Immediate Release November 4, 2013

Contact: Patricia Cole 703-236-6218

Two Washington State Programs Receive Social Innovation Awards from Catholic Charities USA Catholic Charities Agencies in Yakima, Spokane Recognized for Innovative Anti-Poverty Programs Alexandria, Va. – Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) presented CCUSA Social Innovation Awards to programs run by two member agencies in Washington state during its Partners in Excellence Regional Gathering event taking place this week in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. New Life Homes, run by Catholic Charities Diocese of Yakima, and Vinegar Flats Community Farm, a program of Catholic Charities of Spokane, each received an award recognizing their innovative approaches to reducing poverty in their communities. The CCUSA Social Innovations Awards recognize socially-innovative programs being run by Catholic Charities agencies in communities across the country, and come with a $5,000 prize to be reinvested into the program. Catholic Charities Housing Services of the Diocese of Yakima launched the New Life Homes project in 2004, targeting families at or below 80% of the median income for the Yakima area. The program helps first-time homebuyers achieve their dream of owning a home at an affordable price by offering financial assistance in exchange for an investment of 250 hours of “sweat equity.” Since its inception, New Life Homes has helped over 80 families achieve affordable and reliable housing. The Vinegar Flats Community Farm initiative, run by Catholic Charities of Spokane, is a service that provides access to healthy and affordable food to those who otherwise may go without it. The program helps increase the purchasing power for families receiving federal nutrition assistance to enable them to afford fresh produce at local farmers markets, an essential step in neighborhoods which do not always have grocery stores. By targeting the barriers which prevent those in need from accessing quality food, the program is supporting local farmers as well as those in need, with an anticipated enrollment of 500 individuals by the end of 2013. Two CCUSA Social Innovation Awards will be presented at each of the 10 regional gatherings taking place across the country in 2013 and 2014. Award nominations were judged by members of the Catholic Charities network based on a set of predetermined criteria. The next set of CCUSA Social Innovation Awards will be presented during the Partners in Excellence event in Albuquerque, New Mexico on December 12, 2013.

About Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope for more than 10 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit

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