LONDON, Ont. -- The Catholic Diocese of London is about to join the fight against homelessness and poverty in the region.

A year after a multi-million dollar sale of surplus seminary lands, the diocese has announced a one million dollar endowment fund with the proceeds going to organizations that help the poor.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro says the idea for an endowment fund came from the Pope Francis World Day of the Poor, which began in 2017

“The inspiration is Pope Francis and his outreach to those on the margins. I was inspired by that and wanted to create this fund, a charitable fund and reach out to those who are lacking the basic needs in their own lives.”

One million dollars will launch the fund, and each year the proceeds will be given to agencies whose mandate is to fight poverty.

And they’re already lining up to apply. At the Salvation Army Centre of Hope executive director, Jon De Actis, says the need for their services grows every day.

“I mean four years the city announced they wanted to get rid of the shelters. And what we've seen in four years is they've actually increased in numbers. So, you know, all the shelters in London are full all the time. And so, you know, the housing first strategy and all those things we're working with to try to figure out how to look towards affordable housing and how do we as an organization do the in-between stuff until we can find housing for people.”

Mission Services of London says it too looks forward to the opportunity to apply. Director of Development and Communications Ericka Ayala Ronson says if successful, they already have two programs in mind.

“The money would be used to help families that are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness, to have a more hopeful future, through the Prevention of Homelessness Among Families Program at Rotholme. And some of the funding would also be directed towards helping men break free of addiction at Quintin Warner House.”

The money comes from the sale one year ago of surplus seminary lands to King's University College for a price not made public at the time

There's a long list of rules for applicants, including that funds are not to be used for any payments connected to sexual abuse claims.

The Pope Francis Fund for the Poor will be officially announced on Sunday.