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.

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.

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.

Davenport City Council Resolution Honors Efforts to Vanquish Homelessness

City of Davenport resolution
City of Davenport resolution honors survivors of homelessness, photo taken in council chamber on June 21, 2017. Photo: (L-R) John De Taeye, Humility of Mary; Michael Gayman, Catholic Worker House and The Center; Kim Brown, Quad City Harm Reduction; City of Davenport Mayor Frank J. Klipsch; Margot Hary, The Center.

Over the last several months Humility of Mary Housing and Shelter have convened community planning sessions with service providers and advocates who work with persons and families experiencing homelessness. The group is committed to building and sustaining a collaborative approach to reduce homelessness. They also want to increase the availability of home opportunities for extremely low income persons and families and persons living with severe mental health and substance use challenges. Success requires all of us working together!


“From Darkness to Light: Honoring Survival and Resilience”
June 21, 2017 Summer Solstice Resolution

WHEREAS, on any given day hundreds of Davenport residents including kids, families, and single adults are living in precarious, temporary living situations and as a result can be defined as “homeless”;

WHEREAS, the City of Davenport respects the inherent dignity and worth of all persons, especially residents living at the lowest income levels;

WHEREAS, the City of Davenport understands providing safe, quality short-term emergency shelters for extremely low-income residents, and increasing longer-term housing options for very low-income residents can reduce homelessness in Davenport;

WHEREAS, the City of Davenport knows mental health treatment and substance use treatment can help prevent homelessness and enable people to move out of homelessness;

WHEREAS, the City of Davenport recognizes ordinances that may expose homeless persons to heightened law enforcement actions can result in arrests and thus, additional barriers to securing employment and housing;

WHEREAS, the City of Davenport embraces harm reduction programs including ready availability of naloxone;

WHEREAS, the City of Davenport joins the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and New York City, Baltimore, Miami and several other cities across the United States in the June 21 Summer Solstice “From Darkness to Light: Honoring Survival and Resilience” observance;

BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Davenport joins the Quad City Shelter and Transitional Housing Council, business owners, and faith leaders in recognition of the June 21, 2017 Summer Solstice “From Darkness to Light: Honoring Survival and Resilience” as we honor our homeless residents Davenport who on a daily basis demonstrate resilience and strength;

BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Davenport is committed to end homelessness not only for individuals, but also as a society, with affordable housing, adequate incomes, health care, and supportive services.

BE IT RESOLVED, the City of Davenport honors the women, men and children who have overcome homelessness despite the odds, which give us the hope that together we can find the strength to create the political will to end homelessness for everyone. The fight for justice comes not from despair; it comes from hope – the hope that we can achieve Justice.

View a video news clip of the Summer Solstice Celebration event:

An album of photos of the Summer Solstice Celebration event midday event is available on our Flickr page.

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Solstice Event 2017: Celebrate resiliency and success over homelessness

summer solstice successThis 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].

Moving from Homelessness to Registered Nurse in the Quad Cities

Katie and son at graduation

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.

mission accomplished
HMHI’s plea for help inspired supporters to come forward. Their contributions made Katie’s success a possibility. [Image from 2015 HMHI website archive]
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!”

RN graduates
Katie and her son have earned a success to celebrate.

Local Man responds: Davenport Homelessness Debate

Davenport homelessness debateA 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. 

Message from a grateful HMHI program participant

Tina, a participant in HMHI’s permanent supportive housing program, expresses her appreciation and gratitude.

With the help of our supporters, HMHI can provide assistance to struggling and grateful single parent families in need. While many are aware of the housing assistance we provide to families who have nowhere to live, many are unaware of the many supportive elements of assistance we offer. With the help of wrap-around assistance, it becomes possible for families to regain their footing and eventually exit our program once  again self-sufficient and able to choose housing that they can afford.

This is a note of appreciation from one family who are grateful for all the support they are receiving:

“Humility of Mary Housing has been a godsend for my daughter and me. We are so thankful for the program.

There have been times when I couldn’t afford the copay for my medications, and HMHI helped me get them. The group meetings are very informative and have given me the opportunity to meet other program participants, who have become my friends.

They also have fun activities for our kids to do.

I feel like everyone who works for HMHI is like our family. They acknowledge our accomplishments.

I don’t know what I would have done or where my daughter and I would be living today if it were not for Humility of Mary Housing.”  ~Tina

Local family recovers from domestic violence through HMHI program

Laureen and her two children survive domestic violence
Laureen and her children are overcoming challenges and creating a better future with the help of the Humility of Mary supportive housing program.

Laureen and her two children, Andre and Andrea, are survivors of domestic violence who currently participate in our supportive housing program. This family inspires us as they work hard to heal the damage left from the chaos of their former life. Laureen says she’s learning now to take each day, each step, deliberately, and to choose the best path possible for herself and her children. When interviewed, Laureen candidly explained how she adressed and sought for mental health issues in this recovery process. Now she’s pursuing more education to help her better manage her family’s finances.

Domestic violence leads to homelessness for many families. The Humility of Mary program becomes a lifeline to single-parents who come to grips with the issue and move forward determinedly toward a better future. Laureen’s own words explain what this means on a personal level:

The Humility of Mary Housing program has become a Beacon of Hope for me and my family. As an expectant single mother with two teens I so appreciate HMHI. Everyone–from the secretary to the director, and even the volunteers–everyone has been a wonderful blessing to me and my family. With their support, we have housing and all our basic needs are covered.

We feel safe and we have a better hope for our future with the help and support of this program.

I believe homelessness should be a thing of the past. I believe this program needs all the sponsors and support available, because HMHI takes on many different kinds of families in need: those with mental health issues, domestic violence victims, and more.

Housing support is most important in trying times, as there is no longer affordable housing in the Quad Cities area. This program is such a blessing to this city, and the help they have given to generations of families to prosper is incredible. I believe supporting Humility of Mary Housing is well worth the financial investment, in all aspects, for the future of families in crisis in the Quad Cities.

The continued support of the generous individuals and organizations that make our work possible create a better future for families in our community. Domestic violence, a cruel reality, can be survived. Futures are transformed at Humility of Mary Housing, through community support.

Autumn Reflections on Working to Alleviate Homelessness

autumn bermAutumn brings familiar seasonal changes, leading us to reflect on our lives. At HMHI, we also reflect on our work. Autumn reminds us of how important is this work that you, our supporters, empower us to do.

Autumn begins in September, the month we recall 9/11/2001 and the horrors and sorrow that the U.S. experienced as a nation in the aftermath of an attack. We did not provoke that attack; rather, we were living our lives and were attacked suddenly and without warning.

That event was completely out of our control. For many the domino affect must have been overwhelming and devastating.

This is the nightmare of a person living as homeless. Through no fault of their own–and sometimes without warning–they find themselves in a desperate situation. You see, not all homeless situations are caused by drug or alcohol abuse or gambling addictions. Homeless situations arise from:

  • fire,
  • death of a spouse,
  • catastrophic illness,
  • accident,
  • abuse or
  • divorce.

In some cases homelessness can happen in an instant. Life changes abruptly and will never be the same. Without a home, parents are left scrambling. They don’t know what they’ll do, how they’ll survive. They don’t know how to protect their children and carry on.

gloomy clouds
Overcast days reflect the dismal situations facing families suffering homelessness.

Homelessness happens to people who’ve never before needed assistance services. They don’t know the support system or how to access it. In many cases they are embarrassed. They never imagined they’d be in this situation.

Our hearts break for these families. It’s a “there but by the Grace of God go I” scenario.  Because, any of us could face this possibility.

Can you imagine working hard all your life only, for instance, to lose it all due to an auto accident?

Recovery exhausts your savings. Your employment replaced you. You have no job and more bills than you can handle. The bank is foreclosing. You and your children will be homeless. 

Can you imagine telling your children the night before your home is seized that tomorrow everyone will sleep in the car? Can you imagine swallowing fear as you try to appear positive so your children aren’t afraid?

This happens here in the Quad Cities. So, at HMHI we provide a home for single parents with children

  • who must struggle to keep their families together,
  • who want to retain custody of their children,
  • who need to keep their children fed, clothed and in school during crisis.
autumn apartment
Stability for a family suffering homelessness: donated items decorate their apartment home for the autumn season.

Our generous donors bring us usable household items, and we’re able to provide a furnished apartment. Our parents can “shop” for free in Gertrude’s Boutique for items they need to make their new apartment a home and haven.

We also give parents the opportunity to increase their education and job skills, while gaining stability. In this process we also help their children. New positive memories and sweet sleep replace their nightmares. Children’s schooling stabilizes. They can continue to achieve their goals.

Autumn, a time of harvest, reminds us of that most important mission here at HMHI.  With your help, we give parents and children the opportunity to again dare to dream and achieve. Thank you for making that happen!

fall reflections

Aspiring nurse seeks support

an aspiring nurse's school needs
We’re turning to the public for assistance so that one of our moms can learn to become a nurse. Donate to help!

mission accomplishedUPDATE August 20, 2015: THE GOAL IS MET! Thank you, HMHI Supporters, for providing the support that will allow this woman to start school with the materials she needs to succeed! WE ARE GRATEFUL TO YOU! No further donations are needed for this drive. However, you’re always welcome to contribute to continue our program, using the Donate Now button on this website.

One of our exemplary participants has earned a Pell Grant and secured her acceptance into nursing classes at Eastern Iowa Community College. She’s cleared some major challenges! Now, we’re asking for your assistance to help her purchase her back-to-school needs so she can take her place alongside other future nurses for the Quad Cities.

The nursing program requires students to come with equipment, a list that totals almost $650 worth of supplies. This includes a daunting list of essentials, including:

  • uniforms–tops  24.98 x 2   pants  20.78 x 2
  • lab coats  24.96 x 2
  • shoes–139.98

Many of the items specified for purchase need to be a particular brand or type, which minimizes the likelihood of finding those items in a good, used condition.

In an incredible effort, she has saved and also solicited help from her family and friends, and raised the majority of money needed. But we can’t expect the impossible from an individual woman who is battling homelessness. Helping her back to school is an investment in a brighter future for her family and for our community, too.

For this reason, we’re turning to our supporters–and to all Quad Cities residents who are counting on healing professionals to care for them on into the future. We are asking for free-will donations for this woman. She’s working hard to escape homelessness by securing a career that will support her and her family. She’s earned our support and respect.

Nurse Supplies, Nursing School Fund

If you’re able to contribute to her special back-to-school fund, please make your check payable to Humility of Mary Housing and designate “Nursing School” in the memo line. Checks received with this designation will go to our participant’s back-to-school fund. You can also contribute online by using the Donate Now button and attaching the “Nursing School” special instructions to HMHI when on the PayPal donation page. Call our office if you have any questions.

Thank you for considering this special request! With your help, we are creating a brighter future for the Quad Cities–one family at a time.