About the Vancouver catholic Worker community

What does it take to be a Vancouver catholic Worker?

Show up and say you are one. Seriously. If you have the desire to perform the works of mercy, come and talk to us, or phone, or email. You don’t have to be living in a house on East Pender Street. The whole idea of personalism is that we each take responsibility for doing whatever we can. It’s not up to ‘someone else’ to look after the problems and needs of our neighbours, it’s up to us. And if we all lived and believed that, to the best of our abilities, the world would be a radically different place.

So join us for an event we’re hosting, or some other time to chat or work in the garden or wander the neighbourhood with Sarah and Roni. There’s no formal structure here, no hierarchy, just community.

If we only see you once in a blue moon, you’re still part of the community and in our prayers. Community is a word we use in the broadest sense possible.

How it works at Samaritan House:

We have room in the house for up to a maximum (generally) of 6 adults. 5 is the optimal level for the good mental health of everyone. Sarah and Vikki live there permanently, the rest of the beds are taken up by long term ‘guests’ who really are community members working on their direction in life, and short term guests who sometimes become long term guests, and sometimes not. Plus Roni (the dog) and Sheba (the cat). The only rules are no alcohol, no drugs, and respectful behaviour toward yourself and your housemates.

We own the house; pay the mortgage and all other associated bills, taxes, utilities etc. Almost 100% of our money comes from our personal incomes.

The Vancouver catholic Worker and Samaritan House are not registered charities and we are not able to issue tax receipts. We will not apply for charitable status because we believe that justice and the works of mercy should be acts of conscience which are done at a personal sacrifice, without government approval, regulation or reward.

What’s going on right now?

The house is over 100 years old. We’ve lived here since 1998. It’s a solid house but the basement was not finished and not tall enough to finish. Things were starting to deteriorate more rapidly. The mortgage was paid and Sarah received money from the sale of her family’s farm, so we embarked on a major renovation journey.

Our goals were to have a finished basement with bedrooms that would be accessible and a second bathroom as well as a functional kitchen upstairs. We would be substantially increasing the energy efficiency of the house with these plans. We hoped that some day in the future we could add insulation to the main floor as well. As anyone who’s ever done a building project knows, things don’t go quite as you plan them. We knew that we would need to fund raise the last little bit of money to complete the job. Then we found out that we were required to gut the walls upstairs, removing very old plaster, and putting in insulation. This was not in the plan and increased our financial need substantially.

As of March 2017 there is a completed new full height basement with an accessibility ramp, an accessible bathroom and 3 bedrooms. Upstairs has been gutted and the asbestos-laced plaster removed. It’s ready for insulation (we didn’t have any before!) and drywall but we’ve run out of money. There’s a new, bigger mortgage and we’ve borrowed all we can, so work is stopped for now.

We’re living snugly in the basement, without a kitchen, and unable to offer hospitality because every spare space is taken up with our belongings from upstairs.

We are in full fundraising mode now and looking for support of any size from you.

If you are able to offer us some financial support we would be most grateful. You can send donations to the house or donate below through PayPal with a one time donation (click on the drawing of our house) or a recurring contribution for a 6 month duration.


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Monthly donations – 6 month subscription