By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — With strong winds that have pounded the area on and off in the past month, a four-foot by four-foot section of roofing was blown off one of the Catholic Worker homes.
Michael Gayman, a volunteer with Oaks of Mamre Catholic Worker, said replacement of the roof originally was planned for later this year, but the need is much greater now.
Estimated cost is $12,000 to replace the entire roof of the home located near Ninth and Division streets. Gayman hopes to raise about half that amount and get part of the roof done now and the rest later in the year. “The entire roof and the layers underneath need to come off,” he said.
Other than the roof, Gayman said the Ninth Street home and a second home at Fifth and Brown streets in Davenport are doing well structurally. The second structure had been well kept before Catholic Worker obtained it, so it is in good shape. “We knew when we bought the house on Ninth it needed some work and eventually would need a roof,” he said. That time came just a little earlier than he expected.
Catholic Worker opened in 2010 with one house. Today there are two homes. One principally serves men struggling with addictions. The second home provides long-term shelter for those with various mental health issues.
With the cold weather this month, the number of people staying in the homes at night has been higher.
“We do what we can to keep costs down. We keep the heat low, but these are two old homes that have high utility expenses,” Gayman said. Utilities are the primary expense for Catholic Worker. “We have no salary expenses,” he noted.
Catholic Worker provides community living. The men who stay at one of the houses go to work during the day and return at night.
Those who do not have jobs are expected to do volunteer work outside the house, Gayman said. Gayman himself keeps busy with Catholic Worker and helping at The Center doing homeless outreach.
Residents eat meals together every night and guests of both homes meet for community meals at the Brown Street home a few times a month.
Youth groups from Our Lady of Victory and St. Paul the Apostle parishes in Davenport and members of the Theology on Tap group volunteer to serve meals on Tuesdays, play games and socialize with guests, Gayman said.
Catholic Worker is not a 501c3 organization, he noted. “Historically Catholic Worker homes have not been.”
To make a donation for the roof or to support Catholic Worker, send checks to Catholic Worker, PO Box 4618, Davenport, IA 52802. For more information on Catholic Worker, contact Gayman at (563) 505-5621.