Advocating for Host Homes: Mulatto’s Story

Mulatto’s host home journey started early last year. He spent several months living in different homeless shelters in Baltimore city before coming to the YES Drop-In Center for their Rapid Rehousing Program. While waiting for his housing, Mulatto is eagerly anticipating the start of St. Ambrose’s Host Home Program.

The Host Home Program helps connect youth with safe and stable homes until they can find permanent housing. In his story Mulatto tells us what the opportunity to find a host home would mean to him.

If you are interested in being a Host for a youth experiencing homelessness, contact Renee Stainrod at renees@stambros.org or calling 410) 366-6180 ext. 233. Our next host home trainings are February 17th and March 17th.

Lisa Evans: A WICD Story

Lisa Evans was born and raised in Baltimore. After working in D.C. for a while she found an interest in community development work. Baltimore, her home, had been working on a lot of innovative projects and had some excited programs, so she figured, why not go home?

Currently Evans serves as the Executive Director of One House At A Time, but in her career she has held several positions working on the local and state level, including Deputy Director at St. Ambrose right in the middle of the foreclosure crisis.  She shared with us some of her insights as a Woman in Community Development (WICD):

“When the foreclosure crisis hit, it hit in a huge way. We saw what lending did to communities and the strong, negative impact it could have.

All of a sudden community development became community stabilization.  Neighborhoods that were once improving or at least stable were on the downturn.  The focus became how do we make sure we didn’t see more vacants or blithe?  We would fix one house and 4 more vacants would appear.  Property values plummeted, dropping around 65% in value.

But now neighborhoods are improving.  Barclay area is a great example. 10 years ago, vacant lots made it almost impossible for developers to rent properties in that neighborhood. And how did it turn around? Community development is about coming in and doing work that creates that change.

The question we have to ask is how do we target our community development.  We would like to fix it all, but with limited resources we just can’t.  It’s interesting in Baltimore because it’s a city that 3 blocks one way or 3 blocks another way is a completely different world. It’s hard to decide which way to go. In community development we say, ‘build from strength.’ So you want to build in those spots that are doing well, but you want to help these other neighborhoods that aren’t doing as well.  It can be hard to figure out where to target. Very little in this field is cut and dry. You see everyone doing good, and you wish you could do more. But it’s a lot of chipping away, not mammoth steps.”

Happy Holidays

From all of us at St. Ambrose, we hope your Holidays are merry and bright. Thank you so much to all our donors who helped make the holiday special for our families and helped spread  joy.

Ways to Give

Nothing fills us with warmth and holiday spirit like giving back to our community. You can help St. Ambrose support families working to give their children the secure foundation of a home to build a bright future.  We would not be able to do our work without your help.

Online donations are a classic and valuable way to give.  Or if you looking for ways to get creative with your contributions, here are few other ways you can support St. Ambrose.

 

5. Follow us on Facebook and TwItter

Retweet and share to show you care.

4. Shop Amazon Smile

Giving to St. Ambrose is as easy as shopping online!

3. Employer Gift Matching

See if your company offers an employee gift matching program, and multiply your donations.

2. Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Be a St. Ambrose cheerleader and encourage friends and family to give their support.

1. Share your St. Ambrose story

Tell us how you heard about St. Ambrose, how you got involved, and why you care. You can submit your story in the comment section below.

 

Who Was Saint Ambrose?

December 7th is the Feast Day of Saint Ambrose.  It is celebrated in Milan, where Aurelius Ambrosius served as a Governor who earned popularity among his subjects through his gentle spirit.  As an inspirational namesake, we wanted to celebrate Saint Ambrose Day and share a little about this Patron Saint of Beekeepers, Beggars and Learners.

Aurelius Ambrosius was one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He spent most of his time with his people, who sought him out for consolation and hope.  He believed that generosity to the poor was a repayment of God’s resources of which everyone was entitled equally.

When the current Bishop passed away, Ambrosius was so well loved that there was a public outcry for the Church to appoint him Bishop.  Ambrosius was so humble that he went into hiding to avoid the appointment.  He was forced to become Bishop when the current Emperor threatened to punish anyone who gave him shelter.  Upon his appointment, Ambrosius gave all of his money and land to the poor.  He served as Bishop of Milan for the next 23 years.

His teachings make him a fitting role model for our organization.  Like Saint Ambrose we strive to help the under-served and assist low-income families. And as explained in our tagline “The temple stands unfinished until all are housed in dignity,” we believe everyone deserves the resources that enable them to grow, thrive and build bright futures.

*Information on Saint Ambrose provided by Ms. Marian Ervin, St. Ambrose Staff

Renee’s Story

In Baltimore City, the number of unaccompanied homeless youth has almost doubled just in the last two years.1 Too often these homeless youth go unnoticed. Many still go to school or work, and try to rebuild their lives. But without a home they are missing that stable ground they need to grow.

St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center Host Home Program, a partner in the Point Source Youth-Baltimore Pilot, is working to make sure this group has support and opportunities. Renee Stainrod has joined our team as our new Homesharing Host Home Program Coordinator. She is working with our existing staff and other community partners to help address the challenges of youth homelessness.

St. Ambrose was an organization Renee heard a lot about when she moved here in 2011. “I hoped I would have the opportunity to work for an organization like St. Ambrose that seems like such a steeple in Baltimore,” Renee said. So when this position opened up, it seemed like a perfect match.

“I want to work with youth because growing up I had great mentors, and a lot of people who helped me,” explained Renee. “I was inspired by their passion for my success. I feel I have to do the same for others as they did for me. These youth are our future and we must prepare them.”

Renee also strongly relates to youth who do not have a stable home. “When I was 19, I was kicked out of the house. I wonder what would have happened if I didn’t have the support system I did. I want to help create that support for others because I understand the stress, struggle and fear of their situation.”

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month.  Join us in advocating for homeless youth and fighting this growing issue!

 

To volunteer to be a host home for a young person, contact Renee at renees@stambros.org.

 

 

 

 

1Maryland Youth Count 2017 Report

A Thanksgiving Story

We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving we were so excited to give out food baskets to families in our rental homes!  A donation from the Baltimore Department of Transportation gave 13 families a meal for the holidays! We are so grateful for their donation!

Homecomings

“While all our programs have merit, they are perhaps best explained through the experiences of the people who know us best.  In every regard, our clients are remarkable people. Each is a special story waiting to be told.

Look at their faces. Hear their words. It is their faith that gives us the faith to fulfill our work. If we can continue to create homecomings for people like those you’re about to meet, we will have done our job well. And, with your help, we will do even more– for our neighbors and for our city.”

-From St. Ambrose’s 25th Anniversary endowment campaign book

 

It’s hard to believe we are half way through our 50 stories!  For our 25th story, we wanted to take a look back at St. Ambrose’s 25th anniversary.  While a lot has changed, our clients are still as great as ever.  They remain the cornerstone of our faith for this work. Below are stories from some of our clients 25 years ago. We hope you enjoy their stories as much as we do.