The WHC Readies to Celebrate 30 Years!!

30 years!!  Like 18 and 21, 30 years is a milestone in the life cycle of people, as well as organizations.  A recent Google inquiry into the significance of the number 30 brought some interesting results.

The number 30 deals with explosive creativity and discovery.  Deeper meaning is derived from 30 when the whole number is broken down into separate parts. Beginning with the symbolic meaning of threes which deal with new ideas, advancement, and expansive development, threes also refer to partnerships that lead to new ideas, directions, and motives.  When three is combined with the power of ten, all of these attributes are amplified into the whole number.

Sound crazy?  Our history will help you understand….

In 1979 the Women's Housing Coalition began with a group of 10 women and representatives from 17 organizations who were concerned about the lack of shelter and resources available to homeless women in Baltimore City.  The Women's Housing Coalition had four initial goals: to make the community aware of the extent of homelessness among women, to advocate for solutions to the problems faced by homes women, to develop housing resources and to develop collaborative approaches to the housing needs to homeless women. The founding members of the Women's Housing Coalition were:

    Mary Slicher          Alice Brock
    Jane Harrison        Eleanor Mann
    Alice Williams        Sr. Josanna Abromaitis   
    Jay Cherry            Joyce Kroeller
    Roberta Gaines     Donna Keck

The initial work of the Women's Housing Coalition, incorporated in 1980 focused on the need for emergency shelter for women .  After the Model Shelter Bill was passed in 1982 the Women's Housing Coalition opened the Upton House which pioneered the concept of “second stage” housing for homeless women.  In 1984 and 1985 the Women's Housing Coalition opened the Howell House and the Lombard House respectively, two more transitional houses to serve homeless women.

The Women's Housing Coalition works with the “continuum of care” model, which is comprised of five programs that help women, regain their self respect through stable housing and intensive case management.  The Women's Housing Coalition defines success as an on-going process, not a strictly defined outcome or achievement.

After success with the Upton House, in 1990 the Women's Housing Coalition opened The Calverton, which continues to serve as the entry program for women entering the Women's Housing Coalition.  This highly structured program is able to serve fourteen single women who are beginning on the path to rebuilding their lives.

Ten years later in 2000 the Margaret Bennett House was opened in historic Mt. Vernon.  This program provides permanent housing to twenty-nine single women, though less structured, women in this program continue to work towards their goals and receive case management services. 

In December 2003 the Women's Housing Coalition in conjunction with a partnership with the Susanna Wesley House Board, opened the Susanna Wesley House, for women and their children.  This entry level program for families provides intensive case management in a structured environment.  Goals are outlined for mothers as well as their children. 

In September 2008 the Women's Housing Coalition opened the Margaret Jenkins House; this building is able to serve twenty-two single women.  Units at the Jenkins House resemble efficiency units in structure, with women sharing only a kitchen.  The Jenkins House is less structured but focuses on continuing to assist women achieve their goals through case management services.

The last step in the Women's Housing Coalition “Continuum of Care” is the Scattered Site Program, which provides housing for both single women and families.  Participants in the Scattered Site Program reside in apartments and houses throughout Baltimore City.  These participants continue to receive Case Management Services but have demonstrated that they are able to live independently.

From the inception of the Women's Housing Coalition as an Ad Hoc organization in 1979 whose focus was to seek solutions to the problems facing homeless women. To the organization that thirty years later provides those solutions through permanent housing and case management services, The Women's Housing Coalition focus remains dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness for women and their children by providing affordable housing and supportive services to enable them to sustain social and financial independence.

The number 30 holds great significance for the WHC!  Next spring we will be celebrating our birthday with a bang!  Please watch your mail and our website for more information.

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