In the late 1980s, San Antonio civic leader María Antonietta Berriozábal met with her mentors Sister Dorothy Ettling, CCVI, and Sister Jane Ann Slater, CDP, leaders in their respective congregations of women religious. Ms. Berriozábal motivated these leaders to collaborate so that they could provide for the unmet needs of San Antonio’s low-income residents. In the early 1990s, teams of women religious met with city leaders to ascertain the city’s most urgent needs, and affordable housing emerged as the most critical. They began to plan for a way to fill that need, and after several years of work, their efforts resulted in founding Merced Housing Texas.
Merced was founded in 1995 by nine congregations of Catholic women religious as a concrete, organized response to the need for housing justice for the economically poor. Merced Housing Texas is chartered by the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation and is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Six congregations — the Founders or Sustaining Congregations — made long-term commitments to provide personnel for board service, volunteer service or employment whenever possible. Five other congregations later joined as Associates.
Merced, formerly a subsidiary of Mercy Housing, Inc., Denver, Colorado, became an independent, statewide, San Antonio-based organization in 1999. At that time, Merced assumed all human resources, accounting and asset management responsibilities previously provided by Mercy Housing, Inc.