QCJunetopia, a 3-day Quad Cities festival event will grace the area for its third consecutive year on June 16-18. A celebration of the area arts communities, the festival is becoming a cornerstone among local artists: musicians, comedians, artists, crafters, filmmakers, and performers of all kinds.
This year the Quad-Cities will celebrate its first Summer Solstice Event 2017. Entitled “From Darkness to Light: Honoring Success and Resilience,” the June 21 gathering celebrates people who overcome homelessness. As a community we’ll also affirm that we can end homelessness for everyone. Local organizations who assist people experiencing homelessness are hosting the Quad Cities Summer Solstice Event 2017.
The event will gather around a potluck meal. The Center, located at 1411 Brady Street in Davenport, IA hosts the event from 11:30 AM until 1:00 PM. The Center and Humility of Mary Housing and Shelter will provide a main dish. They ask participants to bring a potluck dish to share. This sharing reaffirms our local commitment to provide safe shelter and housing options for anyone in need.
Summer Solstice Event 2017 Participants
The local event targets members of the Quad-City Shelter and Transitional Housing Council, Quad-City Area service and advocacy organizations. Faith leaders, business owners, elected officials and members of the public are all encouraged to attend. We are stronger together as we support those in need.
The celebration of summer solstice originated nationally by the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council. They organize events in Miami, New York City and Baltimore. This initial event in the Quad Cities joins the energy in these metro areas.
Summer Solstice 2017 Event Origins
December 21 is the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. Homeless Person’s Memorial Day events that day honor individuals who have lost their lives while enduring homelessness. Similarly, a new corresponding effort is arising on June 21. That day is the Summer Solstice, the first day of summer and longest day of the year. US cities are celebrating those who have overcome homelessness on that day. We affirm that we can end homelessness for everyone.
Homelessness is not permanent. It is not a condition that defines the rest of a person’s life. It is easy to become homeless. But, it’s no easy task to break out of homelessness. People without homes face many systemic barriers. These range from the high cost of housing to low wages and inadequate public assistance programs. All these factors are complicated by poor health and poverty.
Nevertheless, some people surmount these great challenges and reclaim stable, healthy, and productive lives. So, we honor their accomplishments and draw inspiration from them as we continue the struggle for housing justice and human rights.
For more information contact Michael Gayman [The Center 563-505-5621] and/or John De Taeye [Humility of Mary Housing and Shelter 563-484-6901].
This May–always a month of graduations–marks an important turning point in the life of a young woman who has battled to success despite her family’s homelessness. Her nursing career has taken a leap to the next level as she moves from homelessness to registered nurse. And, HMHI supporters played an important role in this success story.
Katie resides in one of the eight units of HMHI’s Permanent Supportive Housing program. When she came to us, she was pregnant. When speaking of those days, she remembers having “nowhere to go. I moved into my apartment two weeks shy of giving birth to my son, Keltin. While I was in the hospital, I promised my newborn that someday I would be able to provide for him.”
While in our program, Katie maintained steady employment. At the same time, she continuously furthered her education. While juggling work and school, Katie also accepted the challenges of raising her son as a single mother.
Katie was accepted into the Scott Community College nursing program in 2015. Money was really tight for her. But, she earned herself a PELL Grant. She scraped together the funding she needed to apply, pay tuition and purchase books for the program. However, just a month before her courses of study were to begin, she received a long list of medical equipment and specific supplies that the program required.
The cost of materials she needed to begin classes totaled $650. Katie didn’t have that amount of money in reserve. With help from family and friends, she pieced together much of this unexpected extra funding needed at the last minute. But, she couldn’t raise it all. What she could access wasn’t going to be enough.
So, HMHI turned to our supporters using the Internet and social media, publishing a plea for help. Supporters donated toward Katie’s nursing fund–without knowing Katie or even much about her personal situation. They simply helped a stranger from the generosity of their hearts. Within days, Katie was bound for her courses–fully supplied.
Katie has worked very hard to complete the nursing program–all while continuing to work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Katie recently graduated from Scott Community College’s Nursing program with her Registered Nurse (RN) degree. Her service coordinator, Lauren Gustafson, was on hand to watch Katie receive her nursing pin.
Katie will take her board examinations in the fall. She intends to seek out employment as a Registered Nurse. But she’s not finished yet! While working as an RN, Katie plans on on continuing her education. She has her sights set on achieving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Katie kept her promise to her son. Equipped with this nursing degree, their future looks bright. She thanks HMHI’s program, staff and supporters:
Without this program, I can only imagine where I would be right now. It was by the grace of God and true dedication that I am where I am today. And I could never be here if it wasn’t for this program. God bless you all!
HMHI Program Director Sandy Dimmer almost bursts with pride as she recalls this participant’s trajectory of achievement: “Katie has worked so hard since she has been with us. I am so proud of her!”
by Patti Trapp, Volunteer Coordinator for HMHI and Humility of Mary Shelter
Today was the semi-annual Spring 2017 United Way Day of Caring. We at HMHI greatly benefitted from the volunteer work participants contributed. We sincerely thank all our United Way Day of Caring Volunteers! Today, we had teams from area businesses as well as individuals in attendance. We thank John Deere, John Deere retirees, St. Ambrose University, Quad City Raiders and Triumph Bank who sent groups to assist us with so many projects.
Fortunately, today’s weather was perfect for a work day! We had volunteers painting an apartment, doing yard work, power washing home exteriors, planting a community garden and doing community outreach. Over 50 people participated in groups supporting Humility of Mary Housing and Humility of Mary Shelter—as well as the people we serve who are experiencing homelessness and working hard to escape its grip.
The Day of Caring Rock Island Outreach project got off to a great start this morning! Fifteen very enthusiastic volunteers covered the downtown neighborhood, distributing over 300 brochures, Helping With Humor fliers, and outreach cards.
Volunteer projects like these are invaluable to HMHI/HMSI. The volume of work that we have in property management alone is overwhelming at times. So, we are grateful for every volunteer and every hour that is so generously given.
Last fiscal year (7/1/15 through 6/30/16) 236 volunteers gave over 6000 hours to HMHI. In addition, volunteers served us through the AARP, RSVP, community service, workman’s comp-rehab programs and area schools!
See United Way’s website for details on the next Day of Caring event which will take place here in the fall. Remember….volunteer opportunities are ongoing at HMHI! For details call Patti: 563-326-1330 x 105.
United Way of the Quad Cities says: “Today, we engaged 900 volunteers in 56 projects, a true testament of how when we work together, we all win!”
We have many lovely volunteers through Goodwill SKILLS Program Day Habilitation Services. This program meets the needs of people who face barriers to independence. SKILLS program participants come to HMHI offices and work as volunteers for a few hours each week. SKILLS stands for: Socialization, Knowledge, Integration, Leisure, Life Skills & Support. We help the participants strengthen their skills as they volunteer for us.
The Goodwill volunteers come to us in small groups of 4 to 6 along with a case worker from Goodwill. These teams work closely with another of my amazing volunteers, JoLynne, who is a retired missionary. Together they have a great time, the young people from Goodwill gain skills, increase their confidence, have interaction with others and…fun!
The groups come every other week for about two hours and rotate so that they all get an opportunity to attend. Each visit brings new challenges. The teams have:
helped clean out the file room,
priced items for the Benefit Sale,
decorated the children’s bulletin board for various seasons and holidays.
Sometimes the tasks we have planned prove to be a bit much. Then, we regroup and find something else to work on. No matter what the task, they are always joyful. There are days their stellar attitude puts mine to shame. We are learning a lot from each other through this experience!
As a special thank you, they all got to shop at our Fresh Start Benefit Sale. They had so much fun doing their own shopping! You could tell that great thought was going into their purchases. It was exciting to see their ‘coupon’ clutched tightly as they spread out through the warehouse floor and looked for treasures. On this trip they were learning about the value of their coupon, checking prices and doing simple arithmetic; each experience building on the one before. In all, approximately 30 young people came with their case workers. They were split into 2 groups, one came in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each group spent an hour or more shopping.
Goodwill SKILLS On Display
The week after the sale, they arrived to work again, surprising us with handmade thank you cards. Now, we proudly display those cards in our front office. Stop in and admire that careful work—each one a testimony to the relationships we’ve formed. I’d love to share a photo of these happy, smiling–always smiling—individuals, but we want to honor their privacy.
All our volunteers are a blessing to us. But, these young people have particularly touched us with their zest for life and willingness to help.
Thank you, to our wonderful friends at Goodwill! By partnering with nonprofit agencies in the Quad Cities, our community grows stronger.
Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. received an award from the Quad Cities Locals Love Us 2017 community-wide survey. We merited an award in the category of “Best Charitable/Community Services.”
Locals Love Us asks the people in the Quad Cities to vote their opinions. The public selects the best places and say who are their favorites in the community. Community members vote in an annual survey. The results appear in a print and online directory.
We’re happy to share this spotlight with these other fine agencies: Quad City Animal Welfare Center, Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities/Restore, United Way of the Quad Cities, and King’s Harvest Ministries.
This award may result in greater public awareness about the issue of homelessness in the Quad Cities. Three of five agencies selected deal specifically with human homelessness. The remaining agencies serve homeless animals and support agencies that alleviate homelessness locally.
Humility of Mary Housing earned one of the original Locals Love Us awards in 2013-2014 and another in 2014-2015.
We sincerely thank the Quad Cities for their ongoing support and for their trust. This honor encourages us to continue and redouble our efforts to improve life for everyone in our community by supporting vulnerable families.
A local man who is currently a participant in our partner agency, Humility of Mary Shelter, has publicly responded to current events in Davenport. In a letter to the editor of the Quad City Times, the participant, unnamed to protect his privacy, addresses “…concerning statements made in the past two weeks regarding the homeless and facilities provided to assist them.”
The statement appears to be a reference to remarks by a local alderman which have sparked a public response of outrage. The remarks were quoted in the Times in conjunction with the city’s closure of Timothy’s House of Hope due to zoning issues. The remarks–and the closure itself–have put compassion as a public policy into the spotlight in Davenport.
Davenport Homelessness Debate
The letter to the editor is notable in that it is a representative voice in response from the population served by Timothy’s House of Hope. Opening with a prayer that no one ever experience homelessness, it proceeds to call leaders into accountability for their remarks against those less fortunate. It continues to say:
Homelessness is a fact of life, which encompasses all walks of individuals with no prejudice to race, color, status, religion, sex, or creed. To the individual that would use the media to publicly degrade myself, or any other person who may be in a less fortunate position than yourself, all I can say is thank you, on behalf of the person who will replace you in public office.
Common sense should tell us that as concerned citizens, in order to prevent more crimes and destitute situations, there needs to be a place provided to offer some help, guidance, information and encouragement. This center, Timothy’s House of Hope, would offer a positive forum for men, women, and young people to live in a city we are all supposedly so proud of.
This week, Davenport considered zoning changes that would allow Timothy’s House of Hope to operate. City staff will draft an ordinance revision that would allow meal service at the site. Opportunity for more public input is forthcoming.
There’s good news today on the federal level for completing Fiscal Year 2017. Congress was able to reach a bipartisan budget deal. That agreement will fund the government through the final five months of FY 2017. Legislators will start voting on it today; and, it’s expected that voting will be completed by Friday. The deal they struck is the result of intense negotiation between Congress and the Trump Administration.
This budget is nowhere near perfect, but at least the bipartisan nature of the bill means we have a bit to celebrate. That is to say, the legislation averts the damage that early budget requests would have inflicted on our nation. The bill, HR 244, protects many important budget priorities, but it falls short on others. Fortunately, some legislators fought hard to protect human needs spending.
Funding for housing: FY 2017–Better than expected!
The budget bill provides $2.383 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, representing a $133 million increase in all. This includes:
$40 million for rapid re-housing or other critical activities to assist communities that lost significant capacity after January 1, 2016.
$43 million for homeless youth demonstration projects.
$12 million for the national homeless data analysis project.
Housing programs received more than last year, but still less than the requested amount. Most housing programs received a slight increase in funding. This funding will be crucial because housing units increase with market costs each year.
Another budget soon
On May 15, Congress will begin deliberating the next budget, for Fiscal Year 2018. We must continue to prioritize funding for housing as critical human needs spending. Stand fast to resist additional spending on unnecessary budget items. Your advocacy efforts will apply pressure to make that happen. Thank you for your calls, your emails, and your efforts to ensure that our most vulnerable will have a safe place to live.
With the assistance of Saint Ambrose University students, our HMHI participating families sought out candy and eggs at an Easter Egg Hunt at our office grounds this spring.
The leadership of Hannah Oliver, the Community Service Chair of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) at Saint Ambrose set the event in motion. She organized the activities and reached out to St. Ambrose faculty, staff, clubs and organizations for support and donations. As a result, university students and personnel contributed many items and money to purchase supplies, prizes and Easter baskets filled with treats for the kids.
Organizing a hunt gave the children the chance to participate in the thrill of the search. Their parents enjoyed helping their kids find the treats, too. Four university students led the activities at this event, Hannah, Maggie, Yousef and Catlyn. See a photo of three of these four leaders in the photo array (below).
Participants enjoyed a lunch of pizza, cookies and drinks, donated by a caring local family, Celeste Dolan and her daughter Alanah (see photo array below for picture). Celeste has donated for this event for several years now.
Children experiencing homelessness can experience their plight as a trauma. So, we are especially happy to provide positive activities for our program participants. This helps parents interact in healthy ways with their children and gives a healing boost to the kids, too.
Click on the images to get a closer look at the day’s participants:
National Call in Day April 26 (Wednesday) is urgent to defeat homelessness. When Congress returns to Washington next week, they’ll face a deadline on Friday, April 28 to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. This is our last chance to make sure they know how important federal funding to end homelessness is to the Quad Cities.
Join the National Call-In Day April 26 (Wednesday) to let Congress know how important federal funding is to ending homelessness here. Call your Senators and Representative that day and amplify the voices calling for federal assistance for housing.
Give your name and say you’re a constituent who lives in their district.
Be brief and to-the-point. Say you support increases to federal supports to end homelessness. [or…Fancy version]: “In order to build on the progress we’ve made towards ending homelessness in the Quad Cities, it’s essential that Congress provides at least $2.6 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program in Fiscal Year 2018.”
Thank them for taking your message.
National Call in Day April 26
Some background info explains how important it is to make the call now.
Last Spring, the House Appropriations Committee voted to provide $2.487 billion for McKinney in Fiscal Year 2017–a $237 million increase. An increase like this would allow our community to house 40,000 more people experiencing homelessness than this year.
With your voice, we can urge Congress to do the right thing for people in need.
Thanks for making a short call to make a big difference on National Call in Day April 26. But you can call anytime. So don’t delay.