Cleveland Bridge Builders chooses Joseph’s Home for leadership project

The latest issue of Joseph’s Journey, the biannual newsletter of Joseph’s Home, features an article about how several participants from the Cleveland Bridge Builders program spent several months evaluating the work environment at Joseph’s Home and then making recommendations to help enhance efforts to retain, develop and recruit a diverse staff.

Below is the text from the cover story. Read the complete Joseph’s Journey newsletter here.

Cleveland Bridge Builders Chooses Joseph’s Home for Leadership Project

In November 2020, Cleveland Bridge Builders selected Joseph’s Home as one of six nonprofit organizations to support with a Leadership Action Project. A team of professionals participating in the career-building program spent several months evaluating the work environment at Joseph’s Home. Their objective was to help enhance efforts to retain, develop, recruit and promote a diverse staff, and to make recommendations for achieving the goal of providing a more supportive, enjoyable workplace and a more equitable organizational culture.

Cleveland Bridge Builders (CBB), which is part of the Cleveland Leadership Center, is a launch pad for mid-career professionals that prepares them for a greater role in the community by fostering teamwork, growth and learning. Leadership Action Projects (LAP) serve as a team-based learning lab where professionals can apply newly learned skills and approaches to collaborative leadership to assist a local community organization, like Joseph’s Home.

The CBB team primarily focused on two employee positions that provide incredibly valuable direct client service—resident support associates and peer recovery specialists. These positions have the potential for high rates of burnout, which can result in greater turnover, position vacancies and an overworked staff. Joseph’s Home also has a diverse staff, including people of color, older adults and people with lived experience of homelessness, behavioral health issues and/or substance use issues. This results in unique strengths in service delivery, but can also create unique challenges.

With all of these challenges in mind, the team from CBB embarked on a several month collaboration with Joseph’s Home leadership. Working closely with Executive Director Beth Graham and Operations Coordinator Al Gibson, the group gathered general data to learn more about Joseph’s Home; gathered internal documents, such as job descriptions and annual budget information; interviewed staff and leadership to understand the challenges that may impact different roles at Joseph’s Home; met with leadership of external organizations that provide similar services to the population experiencing homelessness; and spoke to representatives from College Now and Towards Employment to discuss potential opportunities to create a partnership to help current employees reach employment goals
within Joseph’s Home.

The LAP project resulted in a written report and presentation to the Joseph’s Home Board of Directors and staff recommending short-, intermediate- and longer-term steps that Joseph’s Home could take to ensure that direct service staff feel valued and to maintain a full staff that is well trained and supported with their career goals. The recommendations included:

  • Hiring practices
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Emotional support and stress management
  • Staff appreciation and transparency
  • Professional development and training
  • Career advancement

Joseph’s Home has started to implement several recommendations. Already, there is a Joseph’s Home staff member participating in the College Now program with the goal to obtain an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Human Services. In addition, the leadership of Joseph’s Home decided to establish a minimum base wage of $15 an hour so that all staff of Joseph’s Home, and soon, Mary’s Home, earn a living wage. With the MetroHealth Center for Resilience, Joseph’s Home staff will build their own resilience to primary and secondary trauma they may experience through their direct service work. Other items under consideration include modifying tuition reimbursement to tuition assistance, establishing a safe place for staff to take a break during the workday and more.

“Having this kind of expertise at no cost is a wonderful gift. We are grateful that Cleveland Bridge Builders chose us as one of only a handful of nonprofits to receive their contribution of time and talent,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Beth Graham.

Through the course of their project, the LAP group found that Joseph’s Home is a valuable and unique asset to the community, providing a much-needed service for people experiencing homelessness. In order to best provide this service and in alignment with a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Joseph’s Home leadership is dedicated to caring for its staff so they may best serve residents and alumni.

“Our LAP project team was honored to work with Joseph’s Home leadership and staff,” said Erin Gay Miyoshi, Ursuline College director of development and 2021 Cleveland Bridge Builders class member. “This project really opened our eyes to the important role that Joseph’s Home fills in assisting some of the most vulnerable members of our community with a path toward housing stability. During our interviews, the biggest takeaway was how dedicated the staff is to the mission.”

Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2021

Joseph’s Home One of 16 United Way Agency Partners Chosen to Receive $2.6 Million in Grants Through Basic Needs Program

Joseph’s Home is one of 16 agency partners of the United Way of Greater Cleveland to receive $2.6 million in grants as part of its Community Hub for Basic Needs program. Joseph’s Home will receive $130,000 for the new Mary’s Home, which will provide a safe place for single adult women who are experiencing homelessness and have an acute medical condition when it opens by the end of January.

Overall, the Community Hub for Basic Needs addresses the here-and-now needs of individuals in Cuyahoga and Geauga Counties. Through the hub, United Way selected the most innovative programs to combat poverty in the strategic areas of economic mobility, health pathways and housing stability. The grant for Joseph’s Home is part of the United Way’s housing stability investment strategy, which seeks to ensure Greater Clevelander’s have—or are on a pathway to—safe, stable and healthy housing and are able to access resources to meet their basic needs.

A thorough process of applications, interviews and input from community stakeholders guided its work to identify innovative programs to combat poverty that are aligned with United Way’s investment strategies. The 16 agencies will work together and report out results.

As an expansion of the work done for men through Joseph’s home, Mary’s Home will fill the gap between hospital and home by providing medical respite care to medically-fragile women experiencing homelessness, helping them heal, obtain housing and rebuild their lives.

“With our idea to provide women’s medical respite, we will show that integrated, whole-person, trauma-informed care can disrupt the tragic cycling in and out of hospitals, shelters and streets, and help vulnerable women stabilize their health and find, obtain and remain in housing,” said Executive Director Beth Graham. “Success is helping women who thought they might never be stable regain their health, reconnect with family and loved ones, obtain a safe, comfortable place to live, and begin thinking about their futures.”

With partners at Cleveland Clinic, Mary’s Home will conduct an evaluation comparing the outcomes and cost effectiveness of medical respite to standard hospital discharge practices. “We will build the evidence base to generate new investment into ending homelessness in our community,” she added.

Read more about the Community Hub for Basic Needs agency grantees on the United Way website and on

Joseph’s Home Raises $32,444 During #weGiveCatholic to Exceed Fundraising Goal

The annual #weGiveCatholic day of online giving has become a major fundraising source for many Catholic organizations across Northeast Ohio, and Joseph’s Home is no exception. On November 30, 133 donors raised $32,444 for Joseph’s Home, exceeding the goal of raising $30,000. To make a year-end donation to Joseph’s Home, please visit

Mary’s Home blessing brings ministry closer to serving medically fragile women who are experiencing homelessness

On November 3, the dream to serve the physical and mental health needs of medically fragile women experiencing homelessness became a step closer to reality with the blessing of Mary's Home. Mary's Home is a 10-bed facility that was a former school and daycare center adjacent to Joseph's Home. It is expected to open in early 2022 and will serve greater Cleveland’s population of single, adult women who are experiencing homelessness and have acute medical conditions.

The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland was at the blessing ceremony and open house and wrote about Mary's Home and the event on its website. The full text of the article is below or available here (including a video from the blessing).

Mary’s Home to aid medically fragile women nears completion, is blessed

The Sisters of Charity Health System gave a preview of its newest facility, Mary’s Home, during a blessing ceremony and reception on Nov. 3.

Mary’s Home, a companion to the nearby Joseph’s Home, has a similar mission: to serve the medically fragile who are experiencing homelessness. It will serve women. Joseph’s Home, which opened in 2000, serves men.

The new facility, at 2302 Community College Ave., Cleveland, will open in late December or early 2022, once all medical equipment and furnishings arrive. Bialosky Associates and Regency Construction handled renovations to the building.

“The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine are visionaries,” said Anthony Searcy, chair, Joseph’s Home Board of Directors. He thanked the sisters, the staff, board members and campaign committee for their efforts to make Mary’s Home a reality. More than $1.5 million was raised for the new ministry.

Mary’s Home will have 10 private, furnished suites; kitchen, dining and restroom facilities; multiple meeting spaces for programming, including art and music therapy, and group sessions; isolation suites in case of a coronavirus case or other infectious disease; and a dedicated health care clinic.

Joseph’s Home staff said they receive countless calls from hospital social workers seeking help for women with serious medical issues since traditional shelters are not equipped to handle women recovering from surgery or other acute health conditions. Often women are treated in an emergency department, discharged to a shelter or back onto the streets and the cycle begins again.

Beth Graham, Joseph’s Home executive director, also will oversee Mary’s Home. The facility will fill the gap to serve women who need to find secure housing as they rebuild their lives, she said. Both Searcy and Graham credited the CSA sisters saying, “Their hearts are full of faith, hope and love.” Mary’s Home will allow these women in crisis to “hit the reset button,” Searcy said.

“We are thrilled to open the doors to women this year and have many people to thank for this,” Graham said, adding “sincere and eternal gratitude to the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine for their faithful leadership and vision that set the foundation for this expansion of our ministry.”

Members of the capital campaign committee also were credited for their efforts to make the home a reality. Jeanne Colleran Weaver chaired the committee with Sister Joan Gallagher, CSA, as honorary co-chair. Sister Gallagher also was a founder of Joseph’s Home. Kristine Adams, William and Mary Denihan, Lorraine Dodero, Richard Gallagher, Natoya Walker-Minor and Lisa Zimmerman are members of the capital campaign committee.

“Working on this capital campaign was like being on a dating app and never meeting the person,” Weaver quipped, noting the campaign took place during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, “while we were in our bubbles. It’s not easy to ask for money unless the need is truly in your heart.” She also thanked Graham for her tireless work on behalf of both Joseph’s Home and Mary’s home. “Beth holds every detail in her hands,” she said.

Now that Mary’s Home is about to become a reality, Weaver said it’s important to be sure the ministry is sustained.

Sister Gallagher offered her gratitude to her fellow CSA Sisters Theresa Bontempo, Marian Durkin, Evelyn Flowers, Coletta McNamee, Ruth Ann Patrick, Marietta Rohr, Elizabeth Schur and Catherine Walsh, all of whom worked to help establish Joseph’s Home and to pave the way for Mary’s Home. She noted the mission statements for both facilities are the same, with the exception that Joseph’s Home serves men and Mary’s Home is for women.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader and former CEO of the SCHS. “Twenty-one years ago, Joseph’s home opened and the dream for Mary’s home took flesh. Every time we drove past a vacant convent or another building, someone would say we could put Mary’s Home there,” she said.

“This is not a new idea. It has been in the heart and soul of the Sisters of Charity of St Augustine for many years,” Sister Karam said, noting the sisters have served the Diocese of Cleveland for 170 years. “And as we always say, we never did it alone.” She said the sisters’ mission is to serve the underserved. When asking themselves how God was calling them to do that, Joseph’s home was conceived.

Bishop Edward Malesic had been scheduled to preside at the blessing, but was unable to attend, so Father Isidore Munishi, AJ, filled in. He serves as Catholic chaplain at the nearby St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, also a ministry of the SCHS.

“We have an obligation to provide for these men and women who are created in God’s image. We must see him in them,” Father Munishi said. “It is a privilege to serve them.”

Father Munishi blessed a crucifix that was placed on the wall in the main hallway of Mary’s Home. He also went room to room, blessing each one. Many of the rooms are named after benefactors, including the entryway, honoring the Sisters of Notre Dame; the Barbara and John Schubert Supportive Service Space; The Reinberger Foundation Kitchen; Sister Joan Gallagher, SCA Meeting Room; Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland Dining Room; Dodero Foundation Living Room; and Lloyd M. Cook, M.D. Memorial Clinic.

The blessing began outdoors under a tent and continued inside Mary’s Home, with masked guests assigned to various rooms in order to avoid overcrowding. A reception followed the blessing.

Since it opened, Joseph’s Home has helped hundreds of men recover from medical issues and transition safely to self-care and independence in their own homes by developing a proven method for helping them heal and regain their housing and health stability. In 2020, 69% of Joseph’s home residents achieved medical stability at discharge and 57% were discharged to a stable setting, including 45% who left for permanent rental housing. Of those who left in 2019, 88% continued to remain medically stable and 90% continued to live in a stable home one year later.

At Joseph’s Home, a team-based approach is used to ensure that the residents become holistically healthier. Their acute medical issues are stabilized quickly, other health needs are determined and housing barriers are identified and addressed. They also are connected with community resources so they can leave Joseph’s Home and successfully live in stable housing.

Both Joseph’s Home and Mary’s Home have commitments from Cuyahoga County, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, also called ADAMHS, as well as other funders for staff and programming costs.

United Way Seeks Voice of Community for Funding Opportunity – Joseph’s Home Needs Your Vote

Joseph’s Home has applied to the United Way of Greater Cleveland through a request for ideas. This significant funding would support our Mary’s Home expansion. Not only would it enable us to support the staff, program and operating costs, our proposal involves a unique pilot partnership with the Cleveland Clinic that will enable us to evaluate the quality, efficacy and cost effectiveness of medical respite for medically-fragile people experiencing homelessness.

Summer Intern Helps Residents Navigate Health Care

This summer, Joseph’s Home is fortunate to host another John Carroll University student through the Advocacy, Solidarity, and Social Change Internships program provided by the John Carroll University Center for Service and Social Action. The Advocacy, Solidarity, and Social Change Internships enable students to explore what it means to engage in advocacy at non-profit organizations through advocacy, solidarity and social change.


Grant Provides Opportunities for Residents to Learn and Grow from Garden

While at Joseph’s Home, residents are encouraged to engage in programs that aim to help them achieve their health and wellness goals and/or to build skills and confidence in preparation for living in their own housing. One such program is the Healthy Eating and Gardening Program. This program was established in 2020 to reinforce the benefits of healthy eating and nutrition and educate residents about gardening and incorporating healthy, fresh foods into their diets.

NEO Catholic Feature

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland: Mary’s Home to open in December; will aid medically fragile women experiencing homelessness

Work is underway at Mary’s Home, which will open in December in downtown Cleveland. It will be a companion to the nearby Joseph’s Home. Both facilities are designed to serve the medically fragile who are experiencing homelessness.

Joseph’s Home, founded in 2000 by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, aids men who meet those criteria.


Joseph’s Home Joins COHHIO Efforts to Defend Affordable Housing

During recent state budget proposals, the Ohio legislature included an amendment in the state budget which would have had a devastating impact on Ohio’s affordable housing stock. This amendment would have significantly increased the costs of operating many tax credit and subsidized housing properties by taxing them the same as conventional market-rate housing…

Mary’s Home Renovation Begins

On May 24th, the Mary’s Home project and capital campaign took a big leap forward.

Joseph’s Home, along with contractor Regency Construction and architect Bialosky Associates, have started the renovations that will create Mary’s Home.