This year, Giving Tuesday falls on December 3, 2019. This day is a time when communities, individuals, and organizations come together to raise awareness for the causes that matter to them. Giving Tuesday has surpassed one billion dollars of donations since its inception in 2012!
You can join the movement and help create change in your community.
The Women’s Housing Coalition needs your support to continue to create stability for families and individuals who are some of the 2,294 homeless citizens in Baltimore City alone. We are excited to have 5 new families joining us this year, but we need your help.
There are many ways you can donate your time or money to support the Women’s Housing Coalition.
It requires $15,000 to support one person for a year. Your monetary donation on Giving Tuesday will help keep an individual or family in a safe home so they can thrive. You can also support the WHC monetarily by hosting a fundraiser on Facebook.
With five new families joining us we need lots of household items like kitchenware and linens. You can purchase new goods for our families and make a donation to the Women’s Housing Coalition.
Part of how we help people thrive is by giving them the right support including workshops on finances and career placement. If you have a special skill that you could share with our women, or you would like to bring some friends to help us maintain our houses, we would greatly appreciate you volunteering your time.
There are many ways that you can have an impact on people’s lives and create change in your community. We hope you join us on Giving Tuesday!
The Margaret J. Bennett Home opened in 1902 as a boarding house for women. Mrs. Bennett, widow of Francis Worthington Bennett, an auctioneer, died in 1900 with no children. Mrs. Bennett provided $150,000 in her will towards opening the house for women, which remained open into the 1970s.
In the 1900’s a room and two meals daily started at $8 – $12 a week, then increased to $27.50 a week in the 1920s and housed females from 14 – 40 years old. Some of the early house rules included:
o No excessive use of cosmetics
o No smoking
o No advertising from the house
o No bringing employment into the home
o No alcohol
o No food in the bedroom
o No use of electric or gas
o No oil appliances
o Mandatory house meeting attendance
o Guest visits were $1.50 per day
o Curfew started at 9:00 p.m. and moved to 11:00 p.m. in the 1920s
Today, the Margaret J. Bennett Home continues to serve women in Baltimore. The WHC took ownership of the building and celebrated its groundbreaking in 1999. It currently houses 30 individuals in 29 single room occupancies and 1 apartment. In 2016 a basement space was renovated to create a gym and cooking demonstration kitchen. At the beginning of 2019, the health suite that was first opened in 2011, but had not been used in recent years, was reopened with new occupants – Health Alliance Associates, Inc. They provide an integrated model of primary care, behavioral health, medication therapy management and peer recovery outreach for persons recovering from homelessness, mental health disorders, substance abuse disorders, and other traumas. Health Alliance has been a great partner to us, providing same or next-day appointments to any of our residents in need of their services, and to the community at large, as most of their patients are from outside our program.
At the Women’s Housing Coalition, we are grateful to our staff, patrons, and visionaries, like Mrs. Margaret Bennett, for helping us fulfill our mission to create stability for families and individuals with safe housing.
If the Margaret J. Bennett Home is also a part of your history, we would love to hear about it. You can email email@example.com to share your story as part of our upcoming 40th anniversary.
We would like to thank everyone who came out and supported the Women’s Housing Coalition at our 5th annual Hops for Housing fundraiser. We had 116 guests join us at the Peabody Heights Brewery for music by the Ed Lauer Band, brewery tours, and great local beer and food. The FUNdevelopment Committee raised $9,154 in support of our vision to end the cycle of homelessness for those we serve. It was an amazing evening with friends – new and old. We are grateful to Dietz & Watson for being our city sponsor, making some baskets up for our basket raffle, and donating the delicious sandwich wraps.
Everyone enjoyed cookies by Insomnia Cookies and cupcakes donated by Fluffy Factory as we waited to see who won the amazing items donated by local businesses in our raffle.
Items for our other raffle baskets were donated by – A Tradition of Excellence Auto, Pure Fiji, Bow Tie Willie, Posh Plate Catering Company, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, Blacksauce Kitchen, Mouth Party Caramels, The Baltimore Whiskey Company, Earth Treks, B&O Railroad Museum, Liberty Mountain Resort, Annie Howe Papercuts, Maryland Film Festival, Well Crafted Pizza, Radebaugh Florist, Core Power Yoga, Baltimore in a Box, Wockenfuss Candy Company, The Charmery , Blue Pit BBQ, and Melissa Supik and friends.
We are excited to support 5 new families before the end of the year. Through the Hops for Housing fundraiser, we are able to care for one family for 6 months!
We depend on donations and events like this to continue to create stability for individuals and families. Without the support of you and our sponsors including Whiting Turner, Harkins Builders, Veolia, T. Rowe Price, The Lichter Group LLC, Two Point Studios, and Riverside Advisors, LLC. we could not make this event happen.
We are already looking forward to next year!
In 2008, WHC opened the Margaret Jenkins House, a 22 unit single-room dwelling for individuals experiencing homelessness to have permanent supportive housing.
This house, though built by Phillip Hanson Hiss as his personal home in 1868, has a long history of serving the children of Baltimore.
In 1889, Mrs. Margaret Anne Austin Jenkins, Mary Hebert, Mrs. Etts, and Cardinal Gibbons of the Baltimore Archdiocese observed that poor children were being abandoned at daycare centers. This prompted them to raise money to purchase the mansion on Maryland Avenue to be used as an orphanage. It was called St. Elizabeth’s School and included dorms and classrooms set up by Franciscan sisters.
Though the affluent neighbors of the surrounding estates did not support the presence of the orphanage, Cardinal Gibbons worked to soothe their concerns and keep the orphanage open. He directed the sisters to build a wall around the home’s garden and fill the site with a chapel and expanded quarters.
By the 1920s, the orphanage took on the name St. Francis School and part of the building was converted to a convent of Franciscan sisters.
In the 1950s, the orphanage was repurposed to again serve the community as a day nursery for black children. The space had yet another transformation as the St. Francis School for Special Education to serve the mentally handicapped, for whom there were few options.
When the St. Francis School for Special Education moved to Argonne Drive, near where the Franciscan Sisters live now, the building was renamed the St. Elizabeth’s School.
In 2007, the Women’s Housing Coalition along with Homes for America, had the opportunity to purchase the building which continues to serve the citizens of Baltimore as the Margaret Jenkins House.
At the Women’s Housing Coalition, we create stability for families and individuals with housing and other resources. There are 2,294 homeless citizens in Baltimore city alone. One of the keys to preventing homelessness is to have a clear understanding of who is at risk of homelessness and who experiences homelessness.
In the Homelessness in America series published by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, they summarize the most relevant data and research regarding different subpopulations to help inform the work we must do, together, across the federal government, states, and local communities, to end homelessness once and for all.
The scale of family homelessness
Families with children experiencing homelessness represent one-third of all people experiencing homelessness on a given night – and 59% of people experiencing homelessness in families are children under the age of 18.
Who are the families with children who experience homelessness?
Women made up three-quarters of the adults counted as experiencing family homelessness in the 2017 Point In Time data. Just over half of the people in families with children who used shelter in 2016 identified as African American or Black. Families who experience homelessness include single-parent families, two-parent families, and multi-generational families. Many families experiencing homelessness are made up of a young mother with one or two children under age six. About half of the people in families experiencing homelessness are in households with two or three people, and about a quarter are in larger households with five or more people.
The impact of homelessness on children
Compared to their peers, children experiencing homelessness and housing instability are more vulnerable to and experience higher rates of mental health problems, developmental delays, poor cognitive outcomes, and depression.
Why so many families end up homeless
For most families with children who experience homelessness, a driving factor is a shortage of affordable rental housing, given their income from employment, benefits, or other sources. When people are paying too large a share of their income for rent, even a minor crisis or setback, such as a reduction in work hours or an unexpected expense, can be destabilizing and result in the loss of housing. A recent survey found that nearly one in five renters with annual incomes below $30,000 were unable to pay rent within the past three months.
How you can help
There continues to be a concerted effort to better understand the scope, scale, and characteristics of family homelessness. As the Women’s Housing Coalition approaches it’s 40th anniversary, we continue to need and appreciate your support to provide affordable housing and support for families and individuals. You can make a donation to help the WHC, or if your workplace allows you to designate a nonprofit to give to through your paycheck, consider putting WHC down as the charity you want to help.
At the Women’s Housing Coalition we are grateful for our relationships with organizations that support women and help us create more stable families. The Junior League of Baltimore (JLB) has worked with us for the last three years collecting donations and hosting events for our residents.
In this Q and A, JLB President, Brina Masi Eades and Laura Hazan from the JLB Partnership & Service Committee share more about the Junior League and why they wanted to partner with the Women’s Housing Coalition.
Tell us more about the mission of The Junior League of Baltimore and why you wanted to partner with the WHC.
JLB is a leadership development organization. We train women to be civic leaders while actively helping our community. The JLB has been a presence in the Baltimore area since 1912, making this our 107th year of making a positive impact on the Baltimore community! We are actively recruiting our fall membership class right now.
The JLB’s community impact focus is “Women Building Women: helping women and girls unlock their potential through personal and professional development.” The JLB wanted to partner with an organization that would allow us to have a maximum impact on women’s lives in Baltimore. We were drawn to the amazing work the Women’s Housing Coalition has been doing in the Baltimore community by providing safe and affordable housing, as well as support services to housing insecure women and families in Baltimore. We have been honored and excited for the opportunity to join forces with the WHC these past three years.
What activities has your group done with WHC?
Junior League of Baltimore has had a number of different activities with WHC. We had a Mother’s Day brunch in 2018 that was well-received. We’ve had several game nights at Bennett, which are always so much fun. We had a healthy cooking class at Bennett as well. This 19/20 year we are going to have a standing “date” with WHC, on the third Thursday of every month with more game nights, craft nights and other wellness events planned.
Are there any memorable moments from partnering with WHC?
Memorable moments with WHC are in abundance, but one of our favorite moments was during a game night. One resident seemed shy about her ability to play the games, but she took a shine to a particular game called Heads Up. At first, she didn’t want to play, but by the end of the night, she lead the group in several rounds. She really came out of her shell.
Why do you think it’s important to support organizations like WHC?
WHC is an important partner for JLB for several reasons. WHC directly supports our mission of Women Building Women: helping women and girls unlock their potential through personal and professional development. More importantly, WHC gets our members into the community and impacting our neighbors by sharing our skills and knowledge.
For more information about the JLB’s work and ways to get involved, please visit www.jlbalt.org