“The Way I See It,” Reflections by Jenica, a Teen Participant

jottings by JenicaJenica, one of our teen participants, agreed to share her thoughts about her senior year in high school. In this segment, she writes about all that she and her mom have experienced. She also has dreams for her future. “Jenica’s Jottings” is the first part of Humility of Mary Housing and Shelter’s “In Our Own Voices” campaign. The writings of our participants will lift up into full view the resilience and courage our participants demonstrate daily.

Hello, my name is Jenica. I’m 17 years old and currently attend West High School. At a very young age, I was introduced to a very unstable life. But today I live a very stable and healthy life. Humility of Mary is to thank for this.

Growing up for me was hard. My mother was an alcoholic as well as a drug addict. At the time I wasn’t aware of what was going on. But, I knew I didn’t have that perfect life shown on TV or the family life I saw other kids my age having. Through the years I went to a lot of schools, missed a lot of schools, and never really had a true home. I was always waiting to move, wondering how long I would be at this house or sometimes even who was I going to live with next.

teen girl
Jenica shares how life becomes more complicated for a teen without a stable home.

Even as my mother was sober and was involved in her programs, working the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, not everyone was willing to give us a home. Due to her record, other people didn’t see the change I had. They weren’t willing to overlook her felonies and give her a chance. But thanks to Sandy, Rebecca, Rosie, and many others in the Humility of Mary program we were granted that opportunity.

Jenica’s life — New opportunity

It was late May 2014, the end of my middle school career and I was going into high school a few month later.  We were moving into our new house–not living with anyone, not fearful of being rejected. Mom got a new job. This lifted so much stress off of even me. Being a kid in my generation is tough. Everyone judges. And bouncing from home to home, living off of people and such isn’t the best way to make friends.

Moving here helped me with new opportunities. It made me more comfortable, less ashamed. Humility of Mary Housing helped with school supplies food, sometimes even clothing. They took us in and gave my mother and me a chance when no one else did. This made the difference. Who knows if I would be doing this good in high school without them?

Now I maintain around a B average and take college classes. I need 1.75 credits in order to graduate. Humility of Mary helped me to become the young woman I am today, and for that I am so very grateful.

Housing Is a Human Right–We Still Believe

homeless woman
Homelessness is nothing new in the US.

We remember the date exactly: October 7, 1989. The Davenport Humility Sisters (CHMs) organized a Quad City pilgrimage to Washington, DC that weekend to participate in the National March to End Homelessness. About this event, the New York Times reported: “Tens of thousands march to protest the shortage of decent, affordable housing.”

The Sisters returned to Davenport inspired. They resolved to make a difference right here in the Quad Cities.

One year later, they established Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. Over the years it continued to grow while providing housing and services to single parent families.

Over twenty five years later, the need for affordable housing has grown. And the need for our services is still present. 

Housing Is a Human Right

So, we reaffirm our belief:

We Still Believe ….Parents want the very best for their children and at times may need assistance in finding a home, good paying jobs to afford housing, while continuing their personal and professional growth …..

We Still Believe …. Families fleeing violent situations in their homes need a safe place to heal, restore relationships, and rebuild a sense of home ….

We Still Believe . . . Persons with limited physical and mental abilities, who are struggling to earn enough money to afford market rate housing, need a safe place to lie their head at night ….

We Still Believe …. Veterans who come home with visible and invisible scars and struggle to reconnect with their home community, families and friends still need a place to call home ….

We Still Believe . . . Governments and the private sector share a responsibility to work together to help build good, quality affordable housing, in safe vibrant neighborhoods.

Christmas giving opportunities brighten holidays for families, people without homes

Christmas gift programs
Help a child in need or any person experiencing homelessness at Christmas time with our gift-giving opportunities.

As the season of giving approaches, everyone looks forward to Christmas. We have opportunities for you to make a difference to a stranger in need this season.

We at Humility of Mary Housing would like to provide presents for our families with children. Once agani, the theme for our Christmas giving is: Something that I want, Something that I need, Something that I’ll wear and Something that I’ll read. Registration to sponsor one family this Christmas is underway. To sponsor Christmas presents for a family experiencing homelessness, contact Patti at 563-326-1330. She will find you a family that matches your ability to give.

Another Christmas Giving Program

Humility of Mary Shelter, our sister agency, would like donors to provide $20 gift cards specifically from Dollar Tree Stores. Dollar Tree Stores are close to Davenport bus routes and will allow Shelter participants to choose their own Christmas present. For people experiencing homelessness, life seems very out of control. By gifting them with a gift card, you provide not only a gift but also the ability for them to choose what they want. This is a ‘hidden’ gift: restoring a bit of control over their own lives to people who don’t have a home.

Humility of Mary Shelter will need 175 $20 gift cards from the Dollar Tree for their participants in both the emergency shelter and the veterans programs. They are hoping that the public will help them make Christmas merry for their program participants.

The “Fine Print”

Santa needs to plan his route! So, we’d like to receive Christmas donations by December 11. Bring all donations to 3805 Mississippi Ave. in Davenport from Monday to Friday between the hours of 8 AM- 4 PM. For questions and clarifications on the Christmas giving programs for Humility of Mary Shelter and Humility of Mary Housing, call Patti at 563-326-1330.

Humility of Mary Housing to Merge with Humility of Mary Shelter

HMHI HMSI to merge
Humility of Mary Housing is set to merge with Humility of Mary Shelter, forming a new agency.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. and Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. are merging.  The goal is to fully integrate operations of both organizations by July 1, 2018. Combined, Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. and Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. have worked to secure safe, stable housing for 5,952 adults and 2,442 children .

With the decision to merge, the Board of Directors of both agencies remain committed to the social justice principles on which the Congregation of the Humility of Mary sisters established both organizations.

In December 2016, members of both agency Boards established a unified board. A Transition Team consisting of Board members and staff began to work with consultants Patricia Shea and Chuck Roberson to identify key issues related to the merger process.

In August 2017, the Unified Board signed a two-year contract with Mission + Strategy, a Chicago-based consulting firm specializing in mergers and consolidations of human services organizations. 

Agencies’ Histories

In 1987, Sisters of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary met with community leaders and residents to discuss pressing social justice issues and community needs. This group considered the need for more housing opportunities for the very poor and homeless. On October 7, 1989, the Sisters organized a Quad City pilgrimage to Washington, DC to participate in the National March to End Homelessness. They joined tens of thousands, marching to protest the shortage of decent, affordable housing. 

The Sisters returned to Davenport intent upon making a difference in the Quad Cities. A year later they established Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. Over the years it grew, providing housing and services to single parent families.

Almost 20 years later, in 2008, residents of Davenport learned the John Lewis Shelter needed significant building improvements and faced steep financial problems. Without an operator, the shelter would close within 30 days. Following an urgent community-wide meeting of local stakeholders, the Sisters considered a possible role. With the promise of Quad City financial support, the Congregation formed a new corporation. Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. opened on September 21, 2008. With the help of supporters and donors from the Quad City area and across the country, it has remained open every day since!

Agency leaders are confident that the merger builds upon the foundation of the 1989 pilgrimage to Washington, DC and all subsequent work and progress. The struggle to provide decent, safe and affordable housing continues.


The 2017 Benefit Jazz Brunch Pleased Attendees

Kay Poor
Kay Poor, of the Development Committee, welcomes attendees to the 2017 Jazz Brunch.

Attendees at the 2017 Benefit Jazz Brunch enjoyed a spectacular day of beautiful weather, elegant surroundings, great music and delectable food. 

Photos by our volunteer professional photographer Joe Maciejko convey the spirit of the conviviality as well as the beauty of the event. Click on any thumbnail to see the image enlarged. 

You’ll see images of the live auction, the buffet line, the beverages, the musicians…and the participants. All the proceeds from this event will benefit local families experiencing homelessness.

Such a picturesque event! More photos are available on our Flickr site.

2017 Jazz Brunch Photos By Joe Maciejko

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Jazz Brunch 2017 Benefit: An event you’ll remember!

jazz brunch 2017
Enjoy music, great food and a beautiful environment on Sunday, September 24 at our benefit Jazz Brunch.

Join us for our eighth annual Jazz Brunch at the Jazz Bistro benefit event. It takes place on Sunday, September 24 at the Crow Valley Golf Club from 11 AM until 2 PM. Margaret Murphy and her friends from Chicago will provide jazz stylings, creating the musical backdrop for a beautiful environment.

Tickets are $75 and are available at Humility of Mary Housing [563 326-1330]. Reservations are appreciated by September 15 with checks payable to Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. or credit card information. Table sizes range from 4 to 10. Include with your reservation the names of those with whom you’d like to be seated. Table sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact John De Taeye for more information [jdetaeye@humilityofmaryhousing.com].

Jazz Brunch 2017

This year’s event celebrates the 26 years that HMHI has assisted 1087 single-parents and their 1,644 children who were experiencing homelessness transition to self-sufficiency.

The Jazz Brunch 2017 is hosted by HMHI supporters Amy Allen, Amy Christ, Thad DenHartog, John DeTaeye, Jane Rouse, Amy Scodeller, Kay Sigardson-Poor, and Sr. Mary Ann Vogel.

"Let the good times roll"--the Jazz Brunch 2017 motto
“Let the good times roll”–the Jazz Brunch 2017 motto

Recent Grant Helps Create Positive Childhood Experiences and Reduce Impact of Trauma

ACES hurts
ACES (adverse childhood experiences) can mar a future.

Most of us share a belief and desire to see all members of our community develop our fullest potential. We know, when each of us can contribute our best, our whole community benefits. 

Many of the children Humility of Mary works with are starting their individual journey with challenges and obstacles that make their journeys difficult.  And often, at a decidedly disadvantage compared with other children their age. 

32 of the 40 of our families have experienced intimate partner violence.  Fleeing a dangerous home without a safe place to go is a painful, difficult decision.  But sometimes, it is the ONLY option.  Families fleeing violence is by far the leading cause of homelessness that come to Humility of Mary for help.

Research shows that negative childhood experiences without interruption, intervention, and healing creates more violence, victimization, and sometimes perpetration.  “Hurt people, hurt people”.

The same research informs of what we know from our own life experiences.  Positive experiences can help re-establish the building blocks and foundation for future, lifelong health and opportunity.

This research has helped identify leading contributors to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and their effects. The more ACES a child is exposed to at a young age, the greater the challenges a child faces in the near and distant future.  In addition to violence, other ACES include substance use, neglect, chronic poverty, incarceration of a parent or loved family member, divorce, and sudden death of a loved one. Any one or combination of more than one of these experiences can lead a family into experiencing yet another ACE, homelessness. 

Positive, healing interventions and ongoing supports can help stabilize children who have multiple ACES and thereby help increase their chances of accomplishing their life dreams and hopes. 

By stabilizing families, Humility of Mary Housing minimizes the toll of ACES on the children we serve. Providing a safe place to live de-escalates ACES harm on a child.

Since 1990, HMHI has worked with families experiencing homelessness. By helping parents reach their parental, education, and employment goals, HMHI helps families break the cycle of ACES. 

This year, HMHI has received a grant from the Davenport based HAVlife Foundation to help children pursue their life dreams and hopes and overcome the obstacles and pains of the past. http://havlife.org/

One of the ways to support children who have experienced an ACE is for them to have a caring and supportive relationship with at least one adult.   This person is often a teacher, coach, or other adult mentor they interact with on a regular basis.  Studies show that young people that participate in music, arts education or extracurricular sports program helps contribute to their overall social, behavioral and cognitive development.   

With the assistance of the HAVlife funds, HMHI will be able to help one of our young men with the expense of renting or purchasing a drum set and private lessons.  This is just the start of unwinding the damage of the past and renewing hope for a young man’s bright future.

Humility of Mary Housing and Humility of Mary Shelter helps families and individuals end the painful cycle of experiencing homelessness.   But we cannot do this work alone.  Each day we work closely with organizations like the HAVlife Foundation, police, schools, and other service providers to increase positive experiences for all of the participants in our various housing programs.  Better understanding of ACES help all of us accomplish this important service in our community.

To that end, Humility of Mary Shelter’s Director of Services Christie Adamson is in the final stages of becoming a community trainer in the Eastern Iowa – Western Illinois Trauma Informed Care Consortium’s ACES training program.  Christie will be able to help Humility of Mary staff and other service providers identify young children and adults who are exhibiting behaviors related to trauma and possible interventions.

Volunteer Hours Add Support to Families in Need

Humility of Mary Housing and Humility of Mary Shelter will host an informational evening on volunteering with the agencies on Thursday, August 31 from 6pm to 7pm at Humility of Mary Housing, 3805 Mississippi Ave. in Davenport.  Men, women and teens are encouraged to attend. Topics will include the application process, current short term and ongoing volunteer needs, the upcoming Fresh Start Benefit Sale and other opportunities.  Hours and days are flexible to meet your busy schedule!  If you’re looking for a place to make a difference, please come to the meeting!  RSVP to 563-326-1330 x 105.

summer volunteer
YouthWorks volunteer teen prepares an apartment for a family without a home.

by Patti TrappIt has been a crazy busy summer, and I just can’t thank my wonderful volunteers enough for their dedication and service. Volunteers contributed over 14,000 hours to Humility of Mary Housing over the past fiscal year, 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2017! I honestly don’t know where we would be without volunteer help.

We saw volunteers everywhere! They worked:

  • office reception,
  • data entry,
  • helping in accounting,
  • assistant to the Executive Director,
  • helping maintenance,
  • painting,
  • cleaning,
  • processing in the donation center,
  • working the Fresh Start Benefit Sales,
  • handling recycling,
  • repairing furniture,
  • rehabbing furniture,
  • researching donated items,
  • creating displays in the donation center, and as 
  • assistant to me, Volunteer Coordinator.

That’s a long list of ways volunteers have blessed us and served our participant families this year!

In addition, there were countless hours worked by RSVP, AARP and those volunteering through workman’s comp. Companies with an injured worker have them volunteer until their physician releases them to return to work. Workman’s compensation volunteers work within the physical limitations dictated by the physician. Studies show there is less depression when people are working and interacting with others. Less depression means faster healing time. It’s a win-win for everyone!

We have also been blessed this year by a partnership with Goodwill Industries. We have had volunteers from the Day Rehabilitation group every two weeks. These folks have spread joy as they have helped on special projects.

There is always a project and a place you can join in. Want to learn more about volunteerism? Call Patti, 563-326-1330, Volunteer Coordinator for Housing and Shelter.

Fresh Start Benefit Sale Fall 2017: Sept. 29-30

Fall '17 Fresh Start Benefit Sale

The Fresh Start Benefit Sale for Fall 2017 is set for Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30. The sale takes place in our donation center, located at 3805 Mississippi Avenue in Davenport, IA. Sale hours are from 8 AM until 4 PM on Friday and from 9 AM until 3 PM on Saturday.

The Fresh Start Sale grants access to the public to purchase donations of furnishings, clothing and household goods that supporters have contributed to our families who are working hard to escape homelessness. Donations that they can’t use or don’t need for whatever reason may be bought at resale prices at this sale, held only one weekend each spring and fall.

The Fresh Start Benefit Sale Fall 2017 will feature seasonal items and holiday items. This is an excellent opportunity for you to refresh, complete or supplement your Christmas decor. We have a wealth of items–all priced to go. Visit our Facebook event page for photos of items and up-to-date sale news as it occurs.

Expect to find quality new and used items, furniture, household goods, bedding, toys, books, dishes, jewelry, collectibles, antiques, gifts, clothing and LOTS of miscellaneous. All children’s clothing is priced at .50 cents each!

Sale donations are welcome through Sept. 15 and can be dropped off at 3805 Mississippi Avenue, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (No after-hours drop offs, please.) We ask that all items be clean and in working order.

Volunteers are welcome to help us with the sale. Call the office for sign up, 563-326-1330 x 105!

Help us publicize our sale by downloading this sale flier. Post it to remind you to attend the sale. We hope to see you at the Fresh Start Benefit Sale Fall 2017!

Visit our Facebook event page for up-to-the-minute sale updates.

Enjoy some preview photos from the sale items:

Fall Fresh Start Benefit Sale Merchandise Photos

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Freedom from homelessness: Our democracy in action!

democracyThe 4th of July weekend is the ultimate summer celebration. It launches picnics, ice cream, fireworks and memories galore.   Amidst all of the celebrations and festivities, the 4th of July reminds us of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the words we hold so dear:

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. …”

The principles and values described in the Declaration of Independence are uniquely American.  As a democratic society, we work to uphold and protect these values  each day. We know that in 1776, in a practical sense, the Declaration of Independence applied to and benefitted a certain class of persons with wealth and property. However, over time, the words themselves caught the imagination of persons and communities left out from the original text. The values, “all men created equal”, “unalienable rights”, “life, liberty, and happiness” transcended the original class of men and appealed to women, persons of color, all persons who did not own property. 

Today, thanks to historic and ongoing social justice struggles, American democracy and the Declaration of Independence includes millions more persons than did its original text.

There’s much for us to celebrate in the Declaration of Independence. It’s the foundation of our 241 year old democracy.  And, the struggles to realize and preserve its fullest potential continue. 

For many of our neighbors and friends, finding safe and stable homes from which they can establish their own foundation – – their personal declaration of independence – – seems remote.  And indeed, our sisters and brothers who are experiencing homelessness also have a right to reach their fullest potential. 

Finding affordable homes in the Quad Cities remains difficult for many:

  • persons and families with extremely low-incomes,
  • those working two or three jobs,
  • military veterans coping with PTSD and other combat related injuries, and
  • people with mental health and substance use challenges. 

Taking on homelessness is a big challenge.  And–with your help–Humility of Mary is working to address the root causes of homelessness. We’re keeping families and children safe.

HMHI bringing freedom

Our programs are showing great results. Our participants are building new and stronger foundations, creating safer and healthier environments for growth and long-term change. With the help of our program, two parents have recently reached their goals by earning their degrees in nursing and criminal justice. They can now join us in giving back to the community.  Click here to read an example. 

So far in 2017, eight households have advanced. They’ve moved into permanent housing opportunities of their own. New families are moving in. They look forward to bright futures for themselves and their children. By fully embracing the programs we offer, they’re more likely to reach their full potential as individuals and families.

The children in our programs are also affected. When children see mom or dad turning life around, getting degrees and jobs, they, in turn, begin to dream big dreams for themselves. We currently have a 14 year old who knows one day he will be a veterinarian. He has created a business card, and he’s mowing lawns to save for his education. The spark of a dream glows brightly in his mind. He’s developing his entrepreneurial skills as he works to save for his future. We’re helping him reach his full capacity.

Back in 1776, men of great vision and uncompromising spirit, gathered and drafted the Declaration of Independence. It was the beginning of a historic journey for all Americans to embrace freedom. We know that some thought it couldn’t be done. Naysayers said we’d never attain freedom. But, ‘We the People’ prevailed.  As it was then, it can be now. Join with Humility of Mary as we pursue this vision: homelessness doesn’t belong in the QCA.

The “self-evident truths” we hold dear are as true today as they were 241 years ago.