The world commemorates Micro Volunteer Day each April 15. At HMHI, we make a good thing better: April 10-16 is Micro Volunteer Week! For mere minutes each day, you can volunteer from the comfort of your home to make life better for local families escaping homelessness. We’ll send you your “mission” by email. Anyone with an email address and Internet can participate!
And we are grateful for your help…! We’ll have a little surprise for all our micro volunteers. And, we’ll thank you in our annual report. So, don’t delay…grab your opportunity to help the children in families who need their own bed.
Over the next few months of Spring/Summer 2017, we will have several families graduating from our program. We are so happy for them! And we’re glad that we’ll be able to accept more families experiencing homelessness into our program. It gives them the opportunity to gather strength and escape life on the streets.
This means we will have apartments that we need to have cleaned and / or painted. We are looking for Spring/Summer 2017 volunteer help to make apartments fresh and clean for new families! It’s a satisfying task: to prepare a home for family that has nowhere to live.
All of these apartments are located in Davenport, Iowa. We are happy to work with family volunteer groups, church groups and civic organization groups, as well as groups from businesses, corporations or educational institutions. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Please call Patti for information and to apply to become a Humility of Mary volunteer: 563-326-1330.
Professionals from the local office of Legal Aid trained the staff this month during HMHI’s quarterly staff in-service day, March 8. They taught us how they can assist those who need legal assistance help, but don’t have funds to get that help. Now, equipped with this information, we can share this with our participating families. That kind of support is critical to those in need. Because, a legal crisis can devastate a family’s future.
We also received training that day on the differences that exist between people of differing nationalities and genders. Differences can lead to conflict, but they can also enrich. This training taught us how to most effectively deal with each other during crisis situations.
At HMHI, our staff interact with volunteers from several generations. Another segment of our training day prepared us for what’s called “the new volunteerism.” During this presentation, we learned how to appreciate, respect and deal with different generations of volunteers. That also equips us to communicate more effectively with people of all age groups—whether they be volunteers, supporters or program participants.
View an album of staff photos on Flickr. We’re proud of our professionals.
Families and communities–like ours in the Quad Cities–need some resources to thrive. We’ve relied for years, for instance, on federal housing assistance. Grant money from the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Agriculture (USDA) helped vulnerable people find stability by helping them into safe homes. That, in turn, has increased stability to the Quad Cities.
When families have stable, affordable homes, they can find jobs more easily, move up economically, do better in school, and stay healthy. Studies back this up. Affordable housing brings many positive effects. It promotes community development. And it boosts our local economy and our job creation.
Federal investments in affordable housing have already lifted millions of families out of poverty. Actually, five million in 2015 alone! Without help, many would live on the streets or in substandard or overcrowded conditions. Others might go without food, medicine or other basics because too much of their limited income has to pay the rent.
Quad Cities housing today
Despite their proven track record, HUD and USDA affordable housing programs haven’t gotten enough funding. What’s happened as a result? Today only a quarter of those who qualify for housing assistance get the help they need. And, the need continues to grow.
More people rent their homes than ever before. Because housing supply and rental assistance haven’t kept up with need, rents are rising everywhere. So, more families spend most of their income just keeping a roof over their heads. Homelessness rates are rising in many communities. On top of that, much of our nation’s affordable housing is deteriorating. What exists often isn’t appropriate for people with disabilities.
It’s not just us in the Quad Cities. Every state and congressional district is affected.
What to do?
We wish there was an easy answer. Since every community is different, so are their housing needs. But, we do know that we have to:
save and restore the affordable housing that we do have;
create more units of affordable housing for low income families; and
increase rental assistance and other programs that help make housing affordable.
None of that can happen without federal investment in affordable housing.
But, the Budget Control Act of 2011 decreased funding for affordable housing and community development programs by imposing low federal spending caps. These spending caps limit Congress’s power to invest in housing solutions. Just one example is that HUD housing and community development funding was $4.3 billion lower in 2016 than in 2010.
Result? It’s harder to house low income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other vulnerable folks. Any further budget cuts—such as those we’re facing in the proposed federal budget–will undermine even more of the federal safety net for housing.
What’s on the horizon?
Since the Budget Control Act went into effect, Congress made some short-term agreements to increase spending beyond the budget caps. These agreements provided very limited budgetary relief. They also required parity for defense and non-defense spending (cuts to one should mean equal cuts to the other). That helped. It temporarily eased the pressure on affordable housing. But low spending caps will return in the 2018 fiscal year, unless the White House and Congress act again.
The budget cuts that are on the horizon threaten affordable housing and community development investments even further. (see chart, right) And that threatens millions of low income families. We need Congress to lift the spending caps and keep parity for defense and non-defense programs. That will bring the greatest highest level of funding possible for affordable housing.
The Upshot Is…
Yes, we have to work to reduce the U.S. deficit over the long-term. But balancing our budget shouldn’t be done on the backs of our low income families. Instead, we need to invest in the resources families and communities need to thrive. That builds stronger communities. And strong communities build a strong nation.
HMHI will keep you updated on ways you can help create the kind of national policy that will strengthen our nation. Visit our website frequently. Or better: sign up to receive our free e-news. We’ll stay in touch with you on ways you can help our lawmakers protect low income families and strengthen our Quad Cities.
For more information, we recommend A Place to Call Home by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) of the National Low Income Housing Coalition from which the information in this article derived.
Christ The King Catholic Church invites the public to attend its Social Concerns Garden of Eden Sale on Saturday, April 29 from 8am to 3pm. It’s held in the Believers Together Center located at 3209 60th Street in Moline, IL.
This annual rummage sale features thousands of items and includes furniture. The sale sponsors donate all funds they raise at the sale to organizations which help the needy. Your purchases will go to a good cause. We appreciate the support Christ the King Social Concerns group has given us at Humility of Mary Housing, Inc.
We encourage you to take advantage of the great bargains at the Garden of Eden Sale. Enjoy the items your purchase and enjoy the fact that you’re helping people in need.
The Fresh Start Spring Benefit Sale, a major fundraising effort at Humility of Mary Housing, is soon here. It’s scheduled to occur on Friday, April 28 from 8 AM to 4 PM and on Saturday, April 29 from 9 AM to 3 PM. The sale takes place in Gertrude’s Fresh Start Boutique, on HMHI’s headquarters property at 3805 Mississippi Avenue in Davenport. This bi-annual sale builds on a long and respected tradition, occurring each spring and fall. It offers gently used furniture, clothing and housewares to the public at extraordinary low prices. All sales proceeds assist families experiencing homelessness in the Quad Cities.
Workers and volunteers prepare year-round for the two benefit sales events. Supporters in the Quad Cities donate a myriad of useful items. These help the single-parent families served by HMHI get established in an apartment. Well-equipped families are better able to escape the perils of homelessness. HMHI families access donations, fee-free. Twice each year, the Fresh Start sales make items that our families are unable to use available to the public at very reasonable prices. All sales proceeds directly support the programs that strengthen HMHI families.
Spring Benefit Sale
This time, the sale will feature new lighted displays. We’re using them to highlight some lovely collectible and special occasion glassware currently for sale. We’ll highlight on this post any special items that arrive and will be offered at this sale.
Another special addition to this year’s sale is a small display of artwork created by some of our program participants. Their creations are worthy of your attention and help the viewer realize that “homeless” is a label that may obscure perceptions of intelligence and talent. See the person–not the label–when you view the beauty they create.
We encourage you to remember us when you find no-longer-needed items as you spring clean closets, basements, attics and garages! We receive donations Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm (no after-hours drop offs, please). Bring your items to 3805 Mississippi Ave in Davenport by April 21 so we can include them in the spring sale. We ask that all items be clean and in working order.
Many families enter our program with little more than the clothing they are wearing. So, we are happy to receive furniture, clothing, housewares and supplies that will help them stock their apartments with basics for everyday life.
Charming Charlie in Davenport supports families experiencing homelessness. They want to help by hosting a charity night for the families we help here at HMHI. On Friday, February 24, from 5 PM to 8 PM, Charming Charlie will donate 10% of designated sales to our cause. We hope you’ll take advantage of their generosity and use the opportunity to enjoy their colorful shop, full of jewelry, handbags, apparel, and gifts. Charming Charlie Charity Night for HMHI adds another reason to say “TGIF” this Friday.
When you enter the store, located in Elmore Marketplace at 2419 Elmore Avenue [MAP], let them know that you’re shopping with our families in mind. They’ll give you a wristband that indicates at checkout that all your purchases will assist local homeless families.
Charming Charlie Charity Night Options
There is an amazing variety of colorful merchandise to browse at Charming Charlie. Wander among the totes, satchels, crossbody and shoulder bags, evening bags, clutches wallets, and wristlets. Browse keychains, glassware, home and kitchen, fragrance and beauty items, travel accessories. Delight in admiring all kinds of jewelry. Charming Charlie can also direct you to organization products, stationery, tech accessories, keychains, gift bags and boxes. That’s just the tip of the iceberg!
If you haven’t yet visited this great retail space, take advantage of this special shopping opportunity to explore Charming Charlie–just one story in the 40,000 feet of merchandise in Elmore Marketplace. In addition, you’ll find other stores there: DSW Shoes, Gap Factory Store, Banana Republic Factory Store, Charming Charlie, Carter’s, Lane Bryant, Pier 1 Imports, Beauty Brands (south of Holiday Inn and Suites), with Mattress Firm, Loft and Fleet Feet on the west side of the lot along Elmore Avenue.
Gather some friends. Make an evening of it. And, you can all feel good that your designated purchases at Charming Charlie will help less fortunate families.
Just under two years ago, Hayley and her three children’s lives were much different than today. At that time, Hayley and her children were displaced from their home due to an abusive relationship. Life was very difficult and stressful for each of them, but obtaining an apartment through HMHI gave this family a much appreciated fresh start.
“My life before HMHI was rough. I had no choice but to be dependent on other people to help me house my children. This kept me in a very unhealthy and unhappy relationship that affected and controlled every part of my life and my children’s lives.”
Hayley used her time in transitional housing to work hard and stabilize her family. She was employed for 18 of the 19 months she was in the program.
“Being given the opportunity to start fresh and on my own was the starting point in my new, and much better life. I felt free and structured all at once. Seeing my kids so happy in our new home gave me the strength to change as many other aspects of my life that I could. I am very grateful for the help I received and continue to receive and for the resources I never would have found without all the wonderful people I’ve met at HMHI.”
Rent It Forward Program
In October, Hayley’s family began a new chapter in their lives. They became one of the first families in HMHI’s newest program, “Rent It Forward.” Due to reduced grant funding this year, HMHI was faced with some difficult decisions. In an effort to continue the important work that we do serving single parent families experiencing homelessness in our community, the decision was made to turn six of our apartments into “Rent It Forward” units to partially fund the cost of a slightly smaller transitional housing program.
Rent amounts are not based on income for this program, but are a flat rate on the lower end of fair market rent. Priority is given to rent to HMHI participants who have successfully completed the program and have a stable income, but are still finding it difficult to find housing in the community and wish to continue renting from HMHI. This program still offers support, but is less structured and provides less intensive services than other programs offered through HMHI.
Hayley was happy to become a part of this program. She had been looking at other housing options in the area and thought that this was a good opportunity for her family. By renting through this program, Hayley could provide safe, affordable housing for her children while also giving back to the program that helped her during her time of need. She is proud of what she has accomplished and is happy to be able to help the families who will need our support in the future. “I am very happy for the chance to continue renting our home while also helping families just like us. Giving back is such a great feeling. I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible for my family.”
Recently, Hayley has had another positive change in her life as she has obtained her “dream job.” Hayley has always been a very talented artist and has occasionally sold her artwork to supplement her regular income. She has now, however, obtained employment with a graphic design company. Hayley stated that she loves her job so much that it doesn’t even feel like work!
Our team in the warehouse is already busy. Spring Fresh Start Benefit Sale preparations are underway. We’re also making sale improvements to enhance your shopping experience. The Spring Sale is scheduled for Friday, April 28 from 8 AM to 4 PM and Saturday, April 29 from 9 AM to 3 PM!
One really creative HMHI volunteer built backboards that we will be using for our diningware and glassware displays. And, we’ve added lighting! This is just one of the many sale improvements coming your way in the Spring Fresh Start Sale. As you’d expect, it will occur at Gertrude’s Fresh Start Boutique in our offices at 3805 Mississippi Avenue in Davenport.
Throughout the year we collect donations of clothing, furniture and household items for our families experiencing homelessness and struggling to escape its grip. Donations not utilized by our families go into the Benefit Sale. All proceeds from this sale support the program that provides support and education to our participant families.
Please remember us as you begin spring cleaning in closets, basements, attics and garages! We are open to receive donations Monday through Friday, 8am to 4pm.
As a part of Catholic Schools Week 2017, the Davenport Catholic Schools conducted a diaper drive, collecting donations for local children in need. They blessed Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. with a very generous donation of diapers and wipes. These products will support the local families experiencing homelessness that our program serves.
The local Catholic schools raised approximately 20,000 diapers and 40,000 wipes by soliciting donations from the classes in local schools: St. Paul the Apostle School, John F Kennedy School, Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf, All Saints Catholic School and Assumption High School. In addition to donating to Humility of Mary Housing, they also donated the diapers and wipes to Bethany for Children and Families and to Women’s Choice Center of the Quad Cities.
The students participated in various contests among the classes to incentivize the collection process. Mike Frieden, Director of Student Success and Student Council Advisor at Assumption High School, was grateful for their engagement in the project.
“Communities of Service”
The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2017, January 29 to February 4, was “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Students delivered four pallets of diapers and wipes to us at Humility of Mary. We are extremely grateful. Our families will value this service. These products will give our families extra support in a useful and practical way.