In this staff spotlight, we speak to Resident Support Associate Quiana Ellis about her work at Mary’s Home.
Mary's Home welcomes first residents
The latest issue of Joseph’s Journey, the biannual newsletter of Joseph’s Home, features an article about Mary's Home welcoming its first residents. With the first resident welcomed in late March, Mary’s Home is now providing a nurturing, caring place to recuperate for women experiencing both homelessness and acute medical conditions.
Below is the text from the cover story. Read the complete Joseph’s Journey newsletter here.
Mary’s Home Welcomes Its First Residents
A Dream Many Years in the Making Becomes a Reality
If a picture is worth a thousand words, an image of a new resident welcome kit posted to the Joseph’s Home Facebook page on March 25 spoke volumes. It proclaimed to the world, “Mary’s Home is officially open!” The story behind the image is much larger than that exciting proclamation.
For 22 years, Joseph’s Home has been helping men without resources who have acute medical needs heal and achieve independence. For those 22 years, there has not been a comparable ministry for women experiencing the same situation.
Mary’s Home is the realization of a dream that the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine had when they answered God’s call to serve the most vulnerable by opening Joseph’s Home in October 2000. Since then, hundreds of men have recovered their health and moved into permanent housing through the help of Joseph’s Home.
With the first resident welcomed in late March, Mary’s Home is now providing a nurturing, caring place to recuperate for women experiencing both homelessness and acute medical conditions. Mary’s Home joins Joseph’s Home as the only local organization offering care for people experiencing homelessness who are too ill or frail to recover from an illness or injury on the streets or in a traditional shelter.
Located next to Joseph’s Home, the building was originally built as a school and then used as a daycare. Following renovations, Mary’s Home is now a 10-room facility with an onsite kitchen, laundry, computer lab and medical clinic. Just like at Joseph’s Home, residents benefit from medical supervision, nutritious meals, nursing care, medication management, and coordination with health care, supportive service and housing providers to help them reach housing and health stability.
“The importance of opening Mary’s Home cannot be overstated,” said Anthony Searcy, chair of the Joseph’s Home Board of Directors. “What we have been doing for men for many years, we can now do for women and fulfill a need that has not been addressed in this area. Mary’s Home truly rounds out the mission of Joseph’s Home.”
Hired in November, Angela Butts is a social worker at Mary’s Home and its first full-time employee. As the home’s social worker, Angela works with residents to fill out their intake paperwork, ensure they understand policies, ensure they have clothing and transportation to and from medical appointments, acts as an advocate for them, and more.
She will also oversee bringing programs to Mary’s Home that have been successful at Joseph’s Home, such as music and art therapy, and group sessions on a range of topics from budgeting to healthy relationships to mental wellness. Plus, she would like to offer self-esteem classes, services of a beautician and gentle exercise, such as chair yoga.
“It was so exciting to welcome our first resident in March. There is tremendous potential at Mary’s Home to help women get healthy and back on their feet, to have an apartment of their own because health is finally not an issue,” said Angela. “I cannot express how happy I am to be the social worker here. It’s such a joy to be able to help women with health concerns.”
Angela said she expects that once Mary’s Home is fully staffed, it won’t take more than a month to fill all 10 beds as the word gets out. “I think our referral partners might even be more excited than I am because they’ve needed something like Mary’s Home for many years,” she added.
Thank You Mary’s Home Capital Campaign Contributors and Committee
Special thanks to everyone who contributed to the Mary’s Home Capital Campaign. With your generous support, the campaign raised more than $1.5 million, exceeding its goal of $1.3 million. Without your support, the vision to make Mary’s Home a reality could not have been possible. Today, women experiencing homelessness who need medical respite care have a safe, secure place to heal and achieve independence.
“We are deeply grateful to the entire capital campaign committee, including Jeanne Colleran Weaver, committee chair, and Sister Joan Gallagher, CSA, honorary chair. Thanks to the committee’s hard work as well as the work of our board of directors, we were able to tell the story of Mary’s Home and inspire donors to generously contribute the needed funds to expand our ministry,” said Beth Graham, Joseph’s Home executive director.
Mary’s Home Capital Campaign Committee:
- Jeanne Colleran Weaver, Chair
- Sr. Joan Gallagher, CSA, Honorary Co-Chair
- Kristine Adams, MSN, CNP
- William M. Denihan
- Mary Denihan
- Lorraine Dodero
- Richard C. Gallagher
- Natoya Walker Minor
- Lisa Zimmerman, PMP
Joseph’s Home is one of five nationwide medical respite programs chosen by the National Institute for Medical Respite Care (NIMRC) and the CDC Foundation to receive grant money and two years of technical assistance to help strengthen behavioral and mental health services. Joseph’s Home will receive funding and support in its efforts to improve health outcomes for men and women experiencing homelessness and, ultimately, to help them obtain permanent, stable housing. NIMRC and CDC Foundation funding and technical assistance will help identify and reduce barriers in delivering behavioral health services while COVID-19 persists.
“We all learn here how important a place to call home is. We all want the same things and, often, they aren’t all that complicated,” says Beth Graham, executive director of Joseph’s Home, in a recent article in Cleveland Magazine about how the United Way is investing in Greater Cleveland. Joseph’s Home is one of 16 Northeast Ohio agency partners selected to receive grants for the 2022-2023 funding cycle through Community Hub for Basic Needs. The new funding process is part of United Way’s total $20.1 million investment strategy in the region in 2022.
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.
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.
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 josephshome.com/donate/donate-today
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) Cleveland announced that Madeline (Maddie) Wallace, director of development at Joseph’s Home, is the recipient of its 2021 Young Nonprofit Professional of the Year Award.
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.
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the unexpected passing of Board of Directors member and friend, Dr. Lloyd Cook. Dr. Cook passed away on Monday, April 19 after a brief illness. Joseph’s Home extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Cook.
Joseph’s Home receives countless calls from hospital social workers asking for help for women with serious medical issues. Cleveland’s traditional shelters are not equipped to help women recover from surgery or other acute health conditions. Instead, when women experience a medical issue, they are rushed to emergency departments. Once they are treated and discharged back to a traditional shelter or the streets, the cycle starts all over again. Sadly, due to a lack of space, Joseph’s Home is forced to turn away these referrals just when medically-vulnerable women need us the most. The time is now to end this tragic cycle for women.
Joseph’s Home hosted its annual celebration of the Feast of St. Joseph March 19. Joseph’s Home board members, friends and staff came together virtually to celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph with a Mass in honor of our patron saint. Many thanks to Fr. Nicholaus Mtey for officiating Mass, Anne Marie Moore and Carmen Massaro for lending their musical talents, and those in attendance.
Perseverance in Hope: The Annual Joseph’s Home Benefit Luncheon will be held virtually September 28, 2021. Be on the lookout for updates coming soon at www. josephshome.com/events/luncheon/. The luncheon will celebrate the remarkable medically-fragile homeless individuals in Northeast Ohio regaining their health and housing stability at Joseph’s Home.
It is with great pleasure that we introduce our newest member of the Joseph’s Home Board of Directors and the campaign chair for the Mary’s Home Capital Campaign, Jeanne Colleran Weaver, PhD. Dr. Colleran is the associate director of the Rule of Law Institute at Loyola University Chicago. The institute, a research center in the Loyola School of Law, addresses issues of equity, accessibility, human rights and conflict resolution.
“We can’t return to normal.” These words were spoken by my friend and colleague, Angela D’Orazio, of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland. This may sound strange in this time of deep longing for things to feel familiar, but what Angela said and what I believe is that “normal” for those experiencing homelessness is awful and unacceptable. The coronavirus pandemic has taught me that things cannot simply return to normal, or we have missed the chance of our lifetimes to make things better.
Medical stability is measured by improvements made when a resident is at Joseph’s Home. Some markers of stability are more easily identifiable than others, such as coming in with an open wound and having the wound heal, or coming in with cancer and leaving cancer free. Other markers are less obvious but can still be measured, like a reduction in outward symptoms.
When the coronavirus began its rapid spread about a year ago, public health agencies quickly recognized how dangerous it would be if the virus were to infect people in crowded encampments and homeless shelters, putting this highly vulnerable population — and the broader community — at great risk.
Save the Date! #WeGiveCatholic is December 1. Support Joseph’s Home during this one-day giving event that provides Catholic schools, parishes, Catholic Charities sites/programs, special ministries and nonprofits affiliated with the Diocese of Cleveland the opportunity to raise awareness and funds.
Although the summer weather is still very much here, the
summer has come to a close for our summer interns, Diamond
and Sarah. Throughout the summer, Diamond and Sarah have
been instrumental in building capacity for new programming,
strengthening existing efforts and providing friendly camaraderie
along the way.
Lisa Zimmerman recently joined the Joseph’s Home Board of Directors. She is the director of global business operations at Quadax, Inc., a health care revenue cycle management company.
Perseverance in Hope, the Joseph’s Home Benefit Luncheon, is an annual event that celebrates the remarkable healing and achievements of the medically fragile men experiencing homelessness who have stabilized their health and transformed their lives at Joseph’s Home. Due to concerns related to COVID-19, the event will be virtual this year. It will be broadcast live on October 28, 2020.
The coronavirus has exposed deep, persistent cracks in our society that were not as evident in the rush of our everyday lives just a few months ago. Or, perhaps, we used our busyness as an excuse to look past them or pretend they were not there.
To get housing, you need ID. To get an ID in Ohio, you need a proof of legal residence in the United States, proof of Ohio residency and proof of a social security number. Those are the minimum requirements. How do you provide any of these documents if you have been experiencing homelessness or living on the streets and in a shelter?
All of us at Joseph’s Home are appalled at the violence and racism inflicted on African Americans, as evidenced most recently by the horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others. Joseph’s Home extends its deepest sympathies to all who have suffered from these injustices.
A group of St. Angela Merici confirmation students created artwork and wrote notes of encouragement to the medically fragile men experiencing homelessness at Joseph’s Home.
Joseph’s Home residents and alumni are among the populations considered at high risk of complications from COVID-19. “For everyone’s safety, we are restricting outside visitors and all trips but for essential appointments,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Beth Graham. While Joseph’s Home staff and residents work diligently to maintain social distancing practices, limiting appointments and visitors, and suspending volunteer activities and programs, the risk of social isolation is high.
Fidelity Investments donated a meal to the Joseph’s Home staff, tirelessly working to care for the vulnerable, medically fragile men experiencing homelessness.
“The Joseph’s Home team has been working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis to protect the health of our residents and continue their journey on a path toward self-sufficiency,” said Beth Graham, executive director of Joseph’s Home. “I am grateful for our team’s unwavering commitment to our men, despite the challenges of quarantines, heightened family responsibilities and working remotely.”
The B’laster Corporation (B’laster Corp.) has donated three cases of hand sanitizer to Joseph’s Home, a residential facility serving medically-fragile men experiencing homelessness. B’laster Corp. recently began sourcing and producing hand sanitizer in response to requests from its essential hardware retail customers and decided to manufacture additional sanitizer for donation. In total, B’laster Corp. will produce more than 22,000 bottles of sanitizer specifically earmarked for donation.
Joseph’s Home has been awarded a $20,500 grant from Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to support the purchase medical and disinfecting supplies for the medical respite shelter, help transition to mobile capabilities for staff and to expedite the relocation of medically at-risk clients in Cuyahoga County to permanent housing.
CLEVELAND — The Community West Foundation, based in Westlake, has awarded a $6,000 grant to Joseph’s Home, a facility which cares for medically-vulnerable homeless men in Northeast Ohio.
“We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Community West Foundation,” said Beth Graham, executive director of Joseph’s Home. “The foundation’s support has been critical to our efforts to assist some of our community’s most vulnerable regain their health and housing stability.”
Joseph’s Home has been awarded a $6,000 grant from Community West Foundation, increasing this year’s total support from the foundation to $38,000. Since awarding its first grant to Joseph’s Home in 2007, Community West Foundation has provided more than $334,000 to assist medically-fragile men experiencing homelessness in Northeast Ohio.
“We are grateful for our long-standing partnership with Community West Foundation,” said Beth Graham, executive director of Joseph’s Home.
Joseph’s Home extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sister Theresa Bontempo, C.S.A.. Sister Theresa was a member of The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine “Dream Team,” whose vision and efforts led to the founding of Joseph’s Home. We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sister Theresa on Friday, April 3.
Joseph’s Home is a provider of recuperative care and temporary shelter for medically-fragile men experiencing homelessness. As such, our organization is exempted from the Governor’s “stay at home” order.
Joseph’s Home has been awarded a $5,000 grant from CareSource Foundation to support the facility’s mission of providing medical respite care for Cleveland’s most vulnerable – medically fragile men experiencing homelessness.
Brunswick resident Beth Graham has been named executive director of Joseph’s Home.
In her new role, Graham will be responsible for guiding the facility’s medical respite care for Cleveland’s homeless men and will strengthen programs to help residents on a path toward stable housing and self-sufficiency.
Joseph’s Home has named Beth Graham as executive director to guide the facility’s medical respite care for Cleveland’s homeless men and to strengthen programs to help residents on a path toward stable housing and self-sufficiency.
It’s common this time of year for musicians to perform Christmas carols, often visiting people who could use some holiday cheer. A pair of instrumentalists did just that on a recent afternoon at Joseph’s Home, which provides housing and medical care for men in downtown Cleveland.
But the visit was about more than familiar tunes.
One of the first venues to recognize the value of Access Music was Joseph’s Home, a transitional facility near Cuyahoga Community College providing housing as well as healthcare, education, and skills training to homeless men with temporary or chronic illnesses. Already, the home has hosted Access Music three times, each time to a small but lively audience.
Joseph’s Home, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System in Cleveland, is a homeless service provider for men that focuses on medical respite care and has seen many similar success stories over the past two decades.
“Simply put, we’re providing a place for people who are homeless and medically compromised, a place to stay and get well because otherwise they’d be in the shelter and have a poor outcome,” explained Dr. Biscaro, a psychologist.
The last four years have been a time of great excitement and growth for Joseph’s Home and our mission to care for medically frail homeless men. As you are an important partner to this ministry, I want you to be among the first to know that Christine Horne, having successfully served as executive director of Joseph’s Home since 2015, has accepted a new position as senior director of business intelligence and strategy at the Catholic Charities Corporation of the Diocese of Cleveland.
Leaders of Joseph’s Home, Cleveland’s only homeless provider focused on medical respite care, announced the establishment of the Sister Joan Gallagher Endowment Fund to ensure continued transitional housing and medical care for the homeless as they are released from the hospital. The goal is to grow the endowment to over $1 million in the next five years.