In the North Fair Oaks area near Redwood City, Sr. Christina Heltsey is taking the housing crisis on the Peninsula head on.
The 67-year-old Dominican nun already runs a private elementary and middle school, a food pantry, a used clothing shop, and an afterschool youth center. Heltsey has also rehabilitated and built 16 houses and apartment buildings, all clustered around her St. Francis Community Center, and all for low-income families in her neighborhood.
“We really, really strongly believe that low-income housing does not equal substandard housing. It cannot. That’s just not what we’re about,” Heltsley told KPIX.
She is now starting to fundraise for her biggest project yet: a 40 unit, $20 million modular apartment building she plans to construct from scratch. The project will bring the total number of low-income housing units she created to 300.
And she’s does it all without a penny of public funding. “We have a number of donors. Some are smaller donors, some are very large donors. But we are blessed to have their trust,” Heltsley said.
Sister Christina’s cause is improving the lives of those around her. Not just creating buildings; she’s building up people.
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