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Joseph’s Home Featured in the 2015 Good News Giving Series

First published on Cleveland.com

Homeless outreach part of Joseph’s Home, West Side Catholic Center, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry: Good News Giving

Good New Giving: Joseph's Home
David Henderson, 53, of Cleveland, is grateful for Joseph’s Home, in background, which helped him get back on his feet after being homeless. Henderson had lost his business, home and family and found himself homeless after an illness. He lived at Joseph’s Home for six months. Joseph’s Home helped him get back on his feet and find a home. Henderson volunteers at the shelter and is now up for a position on the Joseph’s Home board. (Lisa DeJong/The Plain Dealer) (Lisa DeJong)

on December 12, 2015 at 7:30 AM, updated December 14, 2015 at 6:57 AM

Cleveland resident David Jones’ perspective on homelessness is like few others. He had a good job as an IT professional at a homeless shelter, never thinking he one day would be on the receiving end of an agency’s mission.

But one day in 2013, he woke up in a hospital bed following a serious stroke. Complications, including total renal failure, led to him losing his job and his home. He needed help. He found it at Joseph’s Home in Cleveland.

“As a person on the other side, I really do get it,” he said. “I’m grateful for the whole process.”

That process isn’t as simple as providing shelter, meals or blankets. It requires a network of agencies and their relentless workers and volunteers to tackle the many issues involved in such a complicated and vital issue.

Three Cleveland non-profits — Joseph’s Home, West Side Catholic Center and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry — include homelessness in their missions. Their approaches are both varied and effective.

They are among 25 area agencies being supported in the third annual Good News Giving campaign, sponsored by The Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Group. The campaign will feature stories about these agencies during the holiday season, offer a means for donating to them, and provide them with free advertising in The Plain Dealer and Sun News, and on cleveland.com.

Information about these agencies, plus a link to their websites, is posted on the Good News Giving website: cleveland.com/goodnewsgiving. The site features the logo of each agency, a description of its mission and the means of making a donation.

Joseph’s Home

Dialysis three days a week took a toll on Jones. He had to quit his job. He became depressed and did not take good care of his health, which declined further. He lost his apartment and found himself in a group home, which referred him to Joseph’s Home. Staff there helped him stabilize his health and find an apartment he can afford on a fixed income that now includes Social Security benefits. He lives on the West Side, within walking distance of Edgewater Park, which he visits frequently. He just paid his first month’s rent.

“It felt great. I have my own place again,” said Jones, 53. “I have a new chapter, a new adventure.”

Founded in 2000 by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Joseph’s Home seeks to meet the needs of single homeless men who are ill or have been recently discharged from a care facility and have no place to go and recover. The home-like facility next to Cuyahoga Community College’s Metro Campus fills a critical gap for men such as Jones.

“Joseph’s Home provides a place for homeless individuals whose level of care need is below that of a nursing home or hospital, but makes them a poor fit for a homeless shelter,” said Nathan Munn, director of development. “In many situations, to be on the street or in a shelter increases the risk of health complications and makes them more vulnerable.”

David Henderson led what he called a “lucrative life,” with a home health care business that counted among its clients former Cleveland Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien. The business collapsed during the recession, and his marriage and health soon followed. He lost his home and was going from relative to relative, then to shelters, as his health worsened. After six months at Joseph’s Home, his diabetes and other issues were stabilized. He transitioned to an apartment in Hough, where he lives today.

Henderson is paying it forward, serving as an advisor at Joseph’s Home and is being considered for a position on its board. He is the facility’s enthusiastic ambassador, and said Joseph’s Home did more than repair his life. Since his stay, he said he has mended relationships with his eight children.

“Joseph’s Home doesn’t just heal the individual, it permeates throughout the whole family,” he said.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry

Angelo Jessup was a rebellious 11-year-old, living in poverty and struggling to build relationships outside the family, when he first encountered Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry.

Fourteen years later, he’s still there, working with kids in similar situations. Talking about his life at LMM, Jessup sounds confident. It seems like a natural fit. But he said each step came with growing pains, and LMM staff was there for him throughout.

As a kid, he attended LMM’s After School Prevention Resources (ASPR) program. LMM staff drew him out and formed bonds. He quit school and left town, but when he came back to Cleveland, LMM welcomed him and guided him toward a GED.

He was asked to join the first Teen Advisory Group. He helped launch a Q-Team, which conducted program quality assessments. He became the team’s coordinator while attending Tri-C. He was dogged by a fear of failure, and each advancement required him to grow in ways he didn’t think he was capable of.

Recently, he was hired by LMM as the ASPR assistant director and helps oversee the programs that guided his early life. He loves working with the kids at LMM. He’s such a part of LMM’s fabric, the kids tease him for being there “for like 30 years.”

“I tell them I was the same little guy you was,” he said. “Now, although they respect me as an authority figure, they also appreciate me as a big brother.”

ASPR is just one of LMM’s many missions. It was established in response to the urban unrest of the 1960’s, specifically the upheaval in Hough. Its outreach includes, as well as at-risk youth, people who are or have been in legal trouble, or who are dealing with long-term care needs, and the homeless.

LMM helped nearly 9,000 people last year, according to Development Director Megan Crow Brauer. LMM runs a homeless shelter and its kitchen prepared 431,800 meals for the homeless and poor throughout the city.

“We inhabit an intersection where great needs meet bold solutions,” said Crow Brauer.

Workforce development and counseling are priorities, and Brauer pointed to a recent success story in Sarah Reed, who had trouble finding a job after being incarcerated. LMM accepted her into a culinary arts program and she worked at LMM’s Blazing Bistro, a food truck-style restaurant in a shipping container behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The successful bistro will be relocated downtown in the spring with Reed and other LMM-trained chefs.

West Side Catholic Center

Chanel was a homeless Navy veteran with two daughters and an infant son. She had been working as a medical assistant in another city, but lost her job and moved to Cleveland to be close to her husband’s family. Domestic issues forced her to the streets, and the Veterans Administration connected her with the West Side Catholic Center and its women’s and children’s shelter.

Chanel said she felt helpless and scared, and worried she had let her kids down, but quickly felt at home at the shelter. It allowed her to pause her life and set a new direction. While at the shelter, the family received medical care and children’s programming.

Chanel wanted to work. WSCC helped her find a job and a home with a yard for her kids on the East Side. She said she feels like she’s “back on a horse.”

WSCC offers hot meals, hospitality, clothing and household goods, emergency services, advocacy, the women and children’s shelter, and a housing solutions program to those in need at no charge, regardless of religious affiliation. Founded in 1977, WSCC’s web site describes it as “a unique, private, not-for-profit agency with Catholic roots, independent of the Catholic Diocese and Catholic Charities.”

Some of the daily critical needs it addresses include food and medication, heat and water, homelessness and providing help with job searches and transportation.

Maurice came there in 2013 looking for a meal. He was homeless and had been in and out of jail a half-dozen times for selling drugs.

He found more than short-term nourishment at WSCC. He soaked up lessons in creative writing, interviewing, professionalism, resume writing and employment skills. He gained work experience through job placements. He has been a featured writer by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and at the Expressive Arts Project showcase.

Maurice said WSCC changed the way he thought about life, and it changed the scope of his life.

Joseph’s Home is located at 2412 Community College Ave., Cleveland 44115.

Phone: 216-685-1551.

Email: info@josephshome.com.

Website: josephshome.com.

The mission of Josephs Home is to empower men experiencing homelessness and acute illness to heal in a nurturing faith-based environment and achieve independence.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry is located in The Richard Sering Center, 4515 Superior Ave., Cleveland 44103.

Phone: 216-696-2715.

Email: mail@lutheranmetro.org.

Website: lutheranmetro.org.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry serves with people who are oppressed, forgotten and hurting, through a Christian ministry of service and advocacy, to overcome barriers, obtain job skills, gain employment, locate stable housing, access counseling and support services, stay out of prison, secure second chances and become self-sufficient, productive members of our community.

West Side Catholic Center is located at 3135 Lorain Ave., Cleveland 44113.

Phone: 216-631-474

Website: wsccenter.org.

The West Side Catholic Center since 1977 has offered hot meals, hospitality, clothing and household goods, emergency services, advocacy, a women and children’s shelter and a housing solutions program to those in need at no charge, regardless of religious affiliation.

Joseph’s Home Featured in the 2014 Good News Giving Series

First published on Cleveland.com

Joseph’s Home, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry keep roofs overhead as people rebuild their lives

Good News Giving: Donald Martin
Donald Martin, an ex-Marine, was helped by Joseph’s Home recovering from surgery and then in finding a place to live. (Marvin Fong / The Plain Dealer)

on December 09, 2014 at 2:00 PM, updated December 09, 2014 at 2:09 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry and Joseph’s Home don’t build housing. Their mission is much more personal. The agencies rebuild lives and set the people they help on the path to independent living.

The two nonprofits, that temporarily house many of the people they aid, are among 20 area agencies that benefit from contributions made to the Good News Giving 2014 holiday charity campaign of the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The Plain Dealer, Sun News and cleveland.com are all part of the group. Contributions can be made online at cleveland.com/goodnewsgiving or use the coupon in The Plain Dealer.

Many clients of the Lutheran Ministry and Joseph’s Home suffer with severe health problems and are homeless. Others deal with substance-abuse issues and some even have criminal records.

Rodney Scott, now 53, went to Joseph’s Hometo recover from a surgery in which a significant portion of his colon was removed. He’d been diagnosed with stage-four cancer and told by his doctor that he was “at death’s door and the door is cracked.” He was supposed to die in 2009.

AX204_764F_9.JPGRodney Scott, with his new wife, Saundra, recovered from major surgery with the help of Joseph’s Home, one of the agencies benefiting from this year’s Good News Giving holiday charity drive.

Scott stayed at the home during recovery and while undergoing six months of chemotherapy. Ultimately, he was there nearly two years, during which time he proved the doctor wrong. In 2010, he was found to be free of cancer.

Now the only door that concerns him is the one on his apartment on Cleveland’s West Side, which he shares with his wife, Saundra, whom he married last month.

Joseph’s Home also helped Donald Martin. The Louis Stokes VA Hospital in University Circle diagnosed him two years ago with hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Serious ailments, both, but he can joke that “I turned 53 and the warranty ran out.”

The illnesses brought an end to the livelihood that had sustained him since he mustered out of the Marine Corps in 1981: automobile detailing and body work.

“Doctors told me not to do that kind of work because it was too strenuous and there were toxic fumes, too,” he said.

Martin went to Joseph’s Home last year to continue his recovery and to get help in finding a way to make a living and a place to live.

Joseph’s Home workers helped Martin develop a better diet, and “they help you to get it together with your medications,” he said.

Martin now rents a home on the city’s East Side but has run into another calamity.

He’s been studying IT and computer repair. Just short of certification, he said, the federal government curtailed the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program that was underwriting his training.

Joseph’s Home is on that case, too. Georgette Jackson, the agency’s CEO, said the organization has a liaison with the VA and they will explore other funding sources for Martin.

The organization has beds for 11 men, Jackson said. Since its inception in 2000, the agency has helped 450 men.

The primary goals of Joseph’s Home are to help each resident to stabilize his health, obtain sustainable income and move on to permanent housing.

The home was the idea of a member of the Sisters of Charity of Saint Augustine who was a social worker and noticed that many of the homeless men she encountered were in ill health, but did not meet the criteria for managed care.

Jackson said the home is named for Saint Joseph, one of the order’s patron saints. “Joseph was a carpenter, and Joseph’s Home represents men rebuilding their lives,” she said.

Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry is similarly focused but on a broader swath of humanity. It is jointly held by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

The ministry offers a range of services, including a shelter for homeless youth, independent living facilities for youth aging out of foster care, and has a guardianship program in Lorain County.

The largest single entity is the homeless men’s shelter at 2100 Lakeside Avenue, with up to 400 men spending the night there.

Andrew Genszler, the ministry’s CEO, said the adult shelter serves around 10,000 men annually, around half of them transitioning out of prison.

The goal is a sustainable income and independent living for each.

Genszler said the ministry operates two training programs. One is culinary, where participants rotate through the ministry’s central kitchen that prepares meals for six different community locations that serve the homeless. After completing the six-month program, the ministry helps participants gain employment at  restaurants and catering companies.

The other is called Metro Metal Works which manufactures and installs bike racks.

One who has benefited from the metal-work program is a man who recently served five years in prison for statutory rape.

His name is being withheld to give him a chance to re-enter the community.

He has been at the Lakeside shelter for almost a year and has acquired skills in sales, customer service, metal fabrication, logistics and installation.

Since leaving prison, he said the shelter has been “my only support.”

“I do the things I need to do, saving money, getting a driver’s license, learning metal work, selling and assembling bike racks,” he said.

“I’m a critical thinker and I’m not easily impressed, but it’s pretty amazing what they do here every day,” he said. “They treat people like individuals.

“When someone is willing to rebuild his life, this is the only organization to give people a shot,” he said.

Joseph’s Home, Family Promise of Greater Cleveland give shelter from the storm of poverty, illness

First published on Cleveland.com

kimbrough.jpg
Wendell Kimbrough loves the view from his Euclid Avenue apartment, especially in summer when people watching is at its best. Kimbrough was very sick from multiple failed hip replacements when Joseph’s Home, a facility for homeless men with acute medical problems, gave him a place to live and help in dealing with his health. (Lynn Ischay/The Plain Dealer)

on January 01, 2014 at 6:00 AM, updated January 01, 2014 at 4:56 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Joseph’s Home gives homeless men with acute medical problems a place to stabilize by giving them shelter, often for months at a time.

For Wendell Kimbrough though, the agency’s saving grace happened in a matter of hours.

“The day they accepted me, if I hadn’t gone there, I would have been on the street and died,” Kimbrough, 62, said recently at the Cleveland apartment where he now lives.

Joseph’s Home, located in a former convent near St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, as well as Family Promise of Greater Cleveland in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood, supply refuge to people who otherwise might be forced to sleep in chilly cars, along bleak freeways or on a friend’s cramped couch because they lack one of the most basic human needs.

Family Promise serves a different niche than Joseph’s Home in the homeless world — families with children.

Latasha Burrell was working as a housekeeper in Detroit in 2012 when bills and late fees spun out of control. She was on the verge of eviction, and shelters in Detroit turned her away because she had five children.

She took her search for help to the Internet. She was desperate. Then she hooked up with Family Promise.

The agency and Joseph’s Home offer homelike settings — private rooms and small apartments — in contrast to the noise, chaos and crowded quarters common to homeless shelters. They are among 20 nonprofits chosen by readers of the Northeast Ohio Media Group to receive money from its Good News Giving holiday charity drive.

To make a secure donation, go to cleveland.com/goodnewsgiving or use the contribution form printed in The Plain Dealer. The 20 nonprofits, as well as 30 other agencies, also get free advertising in The Plain Dealer, Sun News and on Cleveland.com.

The living room of the apartment where Kimbrough moved in June 2012 overlooks the Shops at Church Square at Euclid Avenue and East 79th Street. From a narrow balcony he can point out the turret of the James A. Garfield Monument at Lake View Cemetery and a bell tower on Euclid Avenue, still standing after demolition of St. Agnes Church.

Urban studies is an interest of Kimbrough. He has taken classes in the field at Cuyahoga Community College. It is one of the ways, along with getting his own apartment, in which Kimbrough has found a degree of self-sufficiency after near-fatal medical problems left him with no place to go.

In a peach-colored sweater, Cleveland Browns cap and with a ready smile, Kimbrough doesn’t dwell on his medical condition. But he has no hips and is mostly confined to a wheelchair.

Multiple failed hip replacements left Kimbrough’s finances in tatters in 2011. He lost his apartment and was sleeping at the home of an acquaintance and in bus stations. Then a space opened at the 11-bed Joseph’s Home. The day Kimbrough arrived he collapsed from an intestinal hemorrhage.

“I bled out. I was cold to the touch,” Kimbrough said. As he recalls the day, he struggles to retain his composure. Yet, the emotion he shows is out of gratitude.

“The holy ghost came out of nowhere and warmed my heart and soul until the paramedics got there,” he said.

Joseph’s Home Executive Director Georgette Jackson said the nonprofit is serving significantly sicker men than a few years ago, perhaps because of a growing population without health insurance.

“We’ve seen people with up to seven or eight different medical problems going on,” she said.

Besides acute medical conditions, job loss can leave people without a roof over their heads. Foreclosure, lack of health insurance and low wages also push people on the street, say agencies that serve the homeless.

The average real annual income of working poor people in the U.S. was $9,413 in 2010, the National Alliance to End Homelessness reported. The study could find no county in the nation where a family with an average income of $9,400 could afford fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

Joseph’s Home is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System. Its residents arrive from local hospitals, emergency shelters and clinics. The average length of stay is almost five months. The home is typically full.

Michael Allen ended up there in October 2010, after the concrete worker’s back and kidneys were injured in a fall from a three-story building. He had been helping put on a roof in a side job to earn money for the holidays.

The kidney damage is permanent. He needs dialysis and a dresser top of prescription drugs to stay alive. He fell behind on his bills and rent.

A worker from Joseph’s Home who came to pick him up found him despondent. Allen said he thought he was being taken to a dangerous and ugly shelter.

But the nurse said, ” ‘Wait til you get there. I think you’ll be surprised,’ ” Allen recalled.

He was. Flabbergasted, in fact.

“It was just like a hotel room. Nice bedding. Clean. It was private. You felt safe. It was comfortable,” he said.

Still, his losses were keen. He not only was badly injured, he lost all the belongings in his Bedford apartment during his sudden move.

“Everything I had worked for,” the 60-year-old said.

Joseph’s House social worker Rodney Dial stepped in.

“It took him about four days to crack my egg, and when he cracked it, I opened up,” Allen said. “He told me, ‘You fell but you got back up.’ “

Allen now lives at Euclid Beach Villa. He visits Joseph’s Home on his way to and from dialysis. He sits on the Joseph’s Home Alumni Board.

“It’s kind of hard to walk right now, but I’m still standing,” Allen said. “I may not have what I had back then, but I have the greatest gift, and that’s that I’m living.”

Latasha Burrell moved with her children to Northeast Ohio when Family Promise could get them into its emergency shelter program, which it operates in coordination with more than 70 local faith congregations.

The organization also has 14 two- and three-bedroom apartments on Kinsman Road in Cleveland. The agency also backstops families once they move into permanent housing through regular visits to provide guidance on budgeting, job retention and child care.

“Our goal is to help them prepare so when they hit life experiences that challenge them,  they can work through it,” development director Yvette Hanzel said.

In August, Burrell and her children moved into a townhouse that she can afford because of full-time work as a cashier for MetroHealth Medical Center.

“I really feel like I accomplished a lot in the little time I was there,” Burrell, 26, said of Family Promise. “They have a beautiful staff. They keep you going and motivated.”

Joan Maser, executive director of the nonprofit, said homelessness can be traumatic. “No matter how much or how little you have, it’s a destabilizing place to find yourself,” she said.

India Marshall worked hard on job readiness after she landed at Family Promise with her four-year-old daughter. Marshall promised herself that as soon as she was stable, she would get certified as a computer numerical control machinist.

Marshall left Family Promise after finding a job with 1-800-FLOWERS, moving into her own apartment almost two years ago. She enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College for  machinist training and is completing the second of three semesters needed for a certificate.

The goal after that is a four-year industrial engineering degree.

“I’ve always wanted to do it. I like making things, creating things,” she said. “Family Promise helped show me the strength that I already had in myself.”

To contact Joseph’s Home, go to www.josephshome.com, or call 216-685-1551. To contact Family Promise of Greater Cleveland, go to www.familypromise.org, or call 216-767-4060.