Joseph’s Home to Launch First Facility in Cleveland To Support Medically Fragile Women Experiencing Homelessness

Mary’s Home to open in December with nearly $1 million in support

Cleveland, OH (April 27, 2021) – Mary’s Home, Cleveland’s first provider focused on the physical and mental health needs of medically fragile women experiencing homelessness, will open its doors in December through generous commitments of nearly $1 million, leaders of Joseph’s Home today announced.

“Women experiencing homelessness in Cuyahoga County have no place to go to recover from acute health conditions after leaving a hospital,” said Beth Graham, executive director, Joseph’s Home. “These women desperately need a nurturing, caring place to recuperate – not only from physical illness, but also the additional trauma they face from homelessness.”

The 10-bed medical respite care facility will be located downtown in a former school and daycare center adjacent to Joseph’s Home, Cleveland’s only provider of medical respite care for men experiencing homelessness. Founded in 2000 by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine (CSA), who saw an unmet need in the community for a place where medically frail men experiencing homelessness could recuperate after leaving a hospital, Joseph’s Home has helped hundreds of men recover from medical issues and obtain a permanent home. Of the residents who exited Joseph’s Home in 2019, 88 percent continued to remain medically stable, and 90 percent continued to reside in a stable home one year later.

“A ‘Dream Team’ of eight sisters led to the creation of Joseph’s Home to address the complex needs of some of our community’s most vulnerable individuals. We are honored and inspired by the incredible community support we have received to extend this mission of healing through Mary’s Home,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. “Especially with the intense impact of the pandemic on so many, the need for Mary’s Home is urgent and the time is now.”

Cleveland’s traditional shelters are not designed to care for women recovering from surgery or other acute health conditions. Instead, when women experience an emergent medical issue, they are rushed to a hospital, treated and then discharged back to a traditional shelter or to the streets, which starts the cycle all over again.

A recent six-year study from the Cleveland Clinic found 2,784 women experiencing homelessness were seen in the emergency room, with some returning 10 times or more per year. In addition, a two-year study from the Norma Herr Women’s Center found 300 women from the center were admitted 937 times to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s emergency department. Of those, 17 percent were admitted 5 times or more.

At Mary’s Home, women will benefit from medical supervision, nursing care, education about their conditions and treatments, medication management, nutritious meals, and coordination with health care, supportive services and housing providers. The integrated care model developed through Joseph’s Home serving men will be used in Mary’s Home, with added expertise in issues specific to women’s physical and mental health. The goal is to help women stabilize their health and safely establish stable housing and self-care.

The project is the result of strong community support, with already $970,000 in commitments of the $1.3 million project goal. Visionary gifts include: $110,000, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland; Jeanne Colleran Weaver, PhD and Richard M. Weaver; $150,000, the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Foundation; $100,000, the Corrinne Dodero Foundation; and $150,000, Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine.

In addition to the nearly $1 million raised, a $350,000 recoverable grant from the Cleveland Foundation will serve as bridge financing to support initial construction and renovation of the facility.

“The overwhelming support from the community for Mary’s Home is a testament to the proven success of the work of Joseph’s Home, helping individuals return to healthy, sustainable lives,” said Richard Gallagher, chair, Joseph’s Home Board of Directors. “We are grateful for those already committed to helping the Sisters’ vision become a reality, and encourage those who are able to join us in supporting some of our community’s most vulnerable.”

The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine committed an additional $150,000 to the Sister Joan Gallagher Endowment Fund, which will support general operations of Joseph’s Home and Mary’s Home.

Mary’s Home, which will be located at 2302 Community College Avenue, will include: 10 private furnished suites; kitchen, dining and restroom facilities; multiple meeting spaces for programming, including art and music therapy, and group sessions; isolation suites, given the risk of COVID and other infectious diseases; and a dedicated health care clinic. Those interested in contributing to or learning more, may visit Mary’s Home or contact Development Director Madeline Wallace at [email protected].

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About Joseph’s Home

Joseph’s Home is the only homeless service provider in Northeast Ohio exclusively focused on medical respite care. While men stabilize their physical illness in a nurturing faith-based environment, they also develop their individual housing plans and connections to behavioral health supports. Joseph’s Home offers an eleven-bed facility with private rooms, ongoing medical supervision, medication management, nutritious home-cooked meals and coordination with local health care providers. Residents also receive intensive case management that includes development of permanent housing plans, benefit(s) review, transportation to and from any needed medical or housing appointments, and supportive programming that includes identifying community resources and supports. Joseph’s Home is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System.