Catholic Social Services is celebrating 50 years of service this year. Thank you to everyone in the community for making it possible for us to continue our mission of ending homelessness and providing services for those most vulnerable in our community.

The Alaska Legislature signed a citation in honor of Catholic Social Services for 50 years of service. May 19, 2016 officially marks 50 years for Catholic Social Services.

Catholic Social Services of Anchorage 50 Years - Alaska Legislature

Formation of Catholic Social Services

The first Archbishop of Anchorage Joseph T. Ryan combined the efforts of the Christian Family Movement and the Third Order of St. Francis to become Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Anchorage in 1963. Catholic Charities was officially established on May 19, 1966.

St. Francis House, which started in 1962, evolved from efforts from Holy Family Parish to respond to the basic needs of the poor in the Anchorage area by preparing and offering food to those in need.

In 1967, fifty babies or young children had been placed with adoptive parents through Catholic Charities. Pregnancy Support Services, the Adoption Program, the Bishop Whelan Counseling Center, and Immigration and Refugee Services developed out of a response by Catholic Charities to the needs of the people. These programs were established under the new title, “Catholic Social Services.”

The early 1980s brought expansion to Catholic Social Services. The Respite and Day Care Programs later became Family Disability Services. which cared for children with special needs. It began its operations in 1981 and 1982.

On November 8, 1982, the original Brother Francis Shelter opened its doors.

In 1983, Clare House opened to serve homeless women and their children and help them get permanent housing and employment.

In 1987, Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services (RAIS) was established, providing a bridge for refugees from their former life experiences to the new skills required for success in the United States.

Charlie Elder House was established in 2001, helping homeless, troubled teenage boys learn to live
independently, achieve academic success, maintain positive relationships, and contribute to the

Homeless Family Services was established in 2008 as a program that provides case management to individuals, veterans, families living in shelters, and unsheltered families with children.