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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I think we might have been one of the first places in the country to do default counseling.
The problem in default counseling is the immoral or unfair loans that are given to people. I guess we can still call them predatory loans. It’s tragic because people are losing their houses left and right because the loans are so bad.
The problem with loans today is the original lenders and brokers have defaulted on their fiduciary responsibility to their clients. This responsibility is exactly the opposite of what they do in practice. They lie to the client and withhold information. They don’t act for the best interest of the clients. They make money for themselves to the detriment of the client.
That’s the whole problem with this city. They put people in houses they couldn’t afford or get people to refinance and give them bad loans. My goal would be to have that stopped. We could expose it more and more and perhaps work on legislation preventing it. A lot of times this stuff is legal. The spoken word has led the client to understand the opposite of what the client signs on paper. So it’s legal, but to my point of view immoral.
That is the big thing in Baltimore in housing.”
– Frank Fischer, July 2007
The St. Ambrose Mortgage Default Counseling program, now called Foreclosure Prevention Counseling, began in the mid-1970’s in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mortgage Default Counseling was the first expansion of services beyond the organization’s grass roots activism and homeownership education services.
Ralph Moore comments on the secret to St. Ambrose’s success over the last 50 years through the story of a woman who found her footing in a St. Ambrose rental home. Ralph is a former staff and board member.
St. Ambrose founder Vinnie Quayle discusses how St. Ambrose got it’s start. “We’re going to teach individual families how to buy houses and how to improve their housing situation and we’re going to [work] on the larger issues with the institutions that could affect the real change.”
The story of the founding of St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center is woven throughout with the perspectives of the many, many individuals whose passion and dedication created and sustained the organization. The thread you choose to follow will reveal varied nuances of motivation, vision, action and reaction. It is very much a story of the activism of the 60’s and it is grounded in community organizing with much of its early work fueled by the Civil Rights Movement. It is a story of entrepreneurial thinking applied to ‘big picture’ problems and the evolution of an organization that seems to constantly be reinventing itself and its place in our City. I hope that you will join us as we weave a powerful set of stories over the next 50 weeks and maybe be inspired to add your own story to ours.
I have only worked at St. Ambrose for 11 years, not a long time compared to some who have 20, 25, 28 years of stories but… this is my St. Ambrose story: I knew absolutely nothing about housing issues when I came to work at St. Ambrose in 2006. The idea that anyone was homeless in the United States baffled me and I wanted to be a part of an organization that was seeking a solution to that problem. When I interviewed with Vinnie Quayle for the fundraising position here, he had a poster on his wall that said “the temple stands unfinished until ALL are housed in dignity.” To this day, that quote accurately conveys the commitment and passion I feel for the work that we all do.
Story by: Karen Griffin, Director of Resource Development