Faye’s Story

For over twenty years Faye has been a part of the St. Ambrose family. As St. Ambrose’s receptionist, she is the first face many of our clients encounter, and she is always ready to welcome them in.

“I heard about St. Ambrose from my sister-in-law who had been working here when I started. I knew they needed help covering the front desk, so I came in on contract to fill in where they needed. Eventually, I came on full-time and it’s a good fit. I love the freedom we have, and I really enjoy all the people. Who can say they get along with everyone they work with? But I really do enjoy everyone.

Of the things St. Ambrose does, I really appreciate the first-time homebuyer classes. Me and my husband bought our first house from St. Ambrose. And I think the rental program is really special. Around the holidays when St. Ambrose gives gifts to families in our rental homes, you get to see how grateful everyone is, and it’s really special. People just can’t believe the person they rent from is helping them buy gifts for their kids.

All the people who come here are pretty good. I see people come in worried and scared they are going to lose their home, and they feel like this is their last hope. They want it to be their last stop. And we try to do that for them. There are people who come in crying and they just make you feel like crying too. When I can get them to that person to help them out, then I can sleep at night.

People often think of us as the 411 for the city. They think we do everything- and we do offer a lot. But for the things we can’t help with, we find someone who can. We just want to see these people get the help they need to keep their home.”

Katrina’s Story

Katrina Anderson has been living in her St. Ambrose rental home for over 10 years. She feels blessed to have stumbled upon this organization and is excited to share her St. Ambrose story with everyone.

“It’s a funny story. I was on the bus thinking about how I needed to move away from the place I was at. It was a rough neighborhood and I didn’t want my three kids living there. And I got this letter from St. Ambrose saying they could help me find a home, and I thought ‘why not give it a shot?’

I went to St. Ambrose and Leah Mason-Grant showed me this home. I loved it. It has all this greenery and a big yard. I thought it was going to be a long waiting list, but that wasn’t the case.  Within six months I moved in. And Leah was so cool. I don’t normally open up to people all that easily, but with her it was like ‘click, click.’ We just got along right away.  She made me feel comfortable.

And after all these years she still puts up with me. She helped in all kinds of tough circumstances. She was there for me when my mom died. She supported me and was always calling to make sure I was alright. Even when I didn’t pick up the phone, she was still checking in on me.  That’s why I call her Mama because she is like a second mom to me. All of the staff is so good.  Everyone helps me out to make sure my home is taken care of.  I feel like St. Ambrose is my family. I’ve been through some stuff, but now it’s good.  St. Ambrose was there for me.

I love my home, it keeps me calm.  If I could, I would just stay in here all day and not go outside. Home is a place where you feel serenity and happiness and that is what I have in my home. I know I don’t own the home, but it’s still my home. And everyone who comes through loves it.

That’s why I want to tell everyone about St. Ambrose. I had to give a shout out to my Mama Leah and tell people about all the nice things she does for me and how wonderful she is. I’m just so blessed to have her and everyone at St. Ambrose. They are so compassionate. They are a God-send. There are so many people out there who have children and are looking for good houses. I wanted a good, wholesome, clean home, and that is what I got. I’m not threatened. No one is coming to kick me out. We need more places like that. ”

 

Virginia’s Story

“You need someplace where you can make yourself comfortable- someplace you can come and go, but know you always have a place to come back to. You need someplace where you know everything is going to be alright. St. Ambrose homes are nice places and they give you that.”    -Virginia, St. Ambrose Rental Home client of 12 years

Virginia’s St. Ambrose story started when she was looking to move from her old city house on a troublesome street.  “I heard about St. Ambrose from a neighbor.  They told me that St. Ambrose had nice and affordable homes, which is what I needed.” She was introduced to the Rental Services Program Manager Leah, who was ready to show her to a few homes.

“After the first place we went to, I didn’t need to go to the second. This was a great place, and I loved it. I didn’t want to see the rest.  And I keep it looking nice. I take care of it.”

After almost 12 years Virginia has taken care of her home really well and loves it as much as ever.  And her St. Ambrose family is always ready to help her. “Leah is so sweet.  She helps me and talks to me, and it’s really nice. And when I do need help taking care of my home I call the maintenance at St. Ambrose and they take care of it. They are nice people to work with and they do it right.”

 

Advocating for Host Homes: Christina’s Story

Christina, aka Jolley, has been homeless for almost three years. She stayed with friends for several months while looking for a permanent place to call home for her and her kids.

“If I had permanent housing before all this had happened, my life would be completely different. I think that I would still be in school or at a better job that I’m in right now. I could really support my kids how I really wanted to. It would just be perfect.”

Our Host Home Program helps people like Christina find stability. Listen to her story below as she tells us what it means to a safe and secure home.

Want to learn more about the Host Home Program? Contact Renee Stainrod at renees@stambros.org or at 410-366-8550 X 233

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Baltimore’s Rising Water Bills

What would you do if you received this notice in the mail?  Evelyn Anderson is a 70 year old wife of a veteran.  She moved into her rowhouse on Ravenwood Avenue in 1975, and has called it home ever since.  But when her water bills began rising into the thousands and became too high to pay, her home of over 40 years was in danger of being lost to tax sale.

Evelyn came to St. Ambrose hoping for some way to save her home. The legal team was able to work with the Department of Public Works to secure assistance, and raise awareness of her plight.  Ultimately, St. Ambrose lawyers were able to save Evelyn nearly $3,000 and more importantly, her home.  This story struck a chord with readers and through their generosity, she was able to pay the bill and save her home.

The St. Ambrose legal team receives many calls from frightened homeowners like Evelyn who are unsure how they will manage such large water bills.  These billing issues impact everyone including organizations. But for low-income families or seniors on fixed incomes, who rely on careful budgeting to ensure they can afford basic necessities, a large, unexpected bill can strike panic. If they are unable to pay the bills, their house could go to tax sale.  St. Ambrose attorneys can help protect families from this kind of catastrophe with free or low-cost legal advice and representation.

Seeing the dire need for reform, St. Ambrose has joined the advocacy effort, working on task forces and partnering with organizations like the Food and Water Watch and Water for All Baltimore Coalition.  The system shouldn’t be so complicated and muddled that people feel they need legal representation just to talk about a water bill. “Citizens shouldn’t need a lawyer to dispute bills. The process should be clear enough for everyone to understand,” Charlotte Clarke, St. Ambrose attorney states. She wrote a great piece that explains in further detail the need to reform the billing system. You can read it read it here.

To read more about Evelyn’s story and St. Ambrose’s push for reform, check out the Baltimore Sun Article.