St. Vincent de Paul Completes Expansion of Sarah’s Hope, Baltimore City’s Largest Homeless Shelter for Families Located in Sandtown-Winchester Neighborhood
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore and other community leaders last evening at the grand opening event for the newly renovated and expanded Sarah’s Hope family shelter in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore City. The $8 million project doubled the shelter’s capacity to 150 beds to meet increased demands, making it the City’s largest homeless shelter for families. The renovations created family style living units, expanded space for improved services, and added a new early childhood center for homeless children operated by PACT. The new Sarah’s Hope allows Baltimore City to meet the requirements of the federal HEARTH act by accommodating families with older adolescent males, intact families, and families headed by single fathers. Sarah’s Hope’s intensive and comprehensive services minimize the length of time families are homeless by helping families overcome barriers to housing, increase their self-sufficiency, and quickly return to permanent housing. The Sarah’s Hope capital project was supported by the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the late Willard Hackerman, and other local foundations, corporations, and individuals.
“This is a huge leap forward in our effort to provide resources that will have a positive impact on families struggling with poverty and homelessness in Baltimore City,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake. “The completion of this project not only allows St. Vincent de Paul to better serve the families who come through Sarah’s Hope with more accommodating living arrangements and the comprehensive services they need to improve their lives, but it offers a wonderful recreation facility for the families in the adjacent Sandtown-Winchester community.”
Operated by St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore since 2008, Sarah’s Hope is located in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of Baltimore City. Prior to the renovation, Sarah’s Hope’s capacity was 75 beds, limiting it to serving approximately 100 homeless families each year. The shelter has always operated year-round at nearly 100% capacity, and fielded hundreds of phone calls each month from homeless families who had to be turned away due to lack of available beds.
By doubling its capacity through this expansion, Sarah’s Hope is now expected to serve around 200 families a year. Sarah’s Hope provides homeless families with the comprehensive stabilization and self-sufficiency services they need to return to permanent housing as quickly as possible. Sarah’s Hope provides comprehensive services including shelter, meals, youth activities, adult education classes, basic healthcare, case management, housing placement, and referrals for benefits and other resources.
The Sarah’s Hope Facility Renovation and Expansion Project was a complete renovation and repurposing of the three story former school building. Previously, services were limited to one floor with congregate living and limited space for services and recreation. The new Sarah’s Hope is a modern facility that features family bedrooms and bathrooms, and space for a wide range of services that includes: case management and healthcare, adult education classes, computer lab, and on-site therapeutic child care services provided by PACT, the leading provider of therapeutic nursery services for homeless children in Baltimore City.
Sarah’s Hope also plans to extend resources to the local residents of the Sandtown-Winchester community. A new multi-purpose room in the renovated building allows community members to host meetings and events, and a community playground and green space is planned on the property in a second phase.
“The completion of this building project has enabled us to make a quantum leap in both the capacity and the quality of the services we are able to provide for homeless families at Sarah’s Hope,” said John Schiavone, President & CEO of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. “Homeless families need, and deserve, a temporary haven that is safe and comfortable, allows them to attain stability, and provides services that will return them quickly to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.”
To see all of the photos from the event, click here.
St. Vincent de Paul Celebrated 150th Anniversary at Mass & Brunch Reception
Parish Conference members, 1865 Legacy Society Members, and other honored guests gathered together for a special Mass and Brunch Reception in celebration of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore's 150th Anninversary.
The event recognized and celebrated both the long legacy, and continued work of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. We honored the work of so many over the years who walked in the footsteps of our founder, Frederick Ozanam, answering the call to serve those who struggle from poverty. We also honored some of the many people who make our work possible, including the benefactors, members, volunteers, and staff who through their sacrifice, commitment, service, and generosity embody the founding spirit of Fredrick Ozanam.
Three special Parish Conferences were recognized at the event. St. Mary of the Assumption, Govans and Immaculate Conception, Baltimore City now Immaculate Conception/St. Cecilia were recognized as our two oldest active Parish Conferences. And the Catholic Church of Glen Burnie was honored as the newest parish conference.
This year's Top Hat Award was presented at the event to Mary Laber, member of the Our Lady of Chesapeake Conference. The Top Hat Award is the highest recognition given by the Baltimore Council and is presented to one member each year. It is named and given in honor of Frederic Ozanam, our founder, also known as the “Apostle in a Top Hat.” A nominee should be a dedicated member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul who exemplifies the core values of faith, friendship, and long-time service. Other criteria include 10 years of service or more as a member of the Society, demonstrated leadership, and strong commitment to direct service are factors in selecting the recipient of this recognition.
The event marked the beginning of a year-long celebration that will include some very important initiatives to strengthen our organization for the next 150 years of service.
When St. Vincent de Paul began its work in Baltimore in 1865, it was a pioneer by initiating many of the first works of charity in our community. Over the past 150 years, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore has continuously carried out its mission to ensure those impacted by poverty have the skills and resources to achieve their full potential. We have served the community through times of great change and challenge, like we saw this past year in Baltimore, and will continue to do so.
As we forge ahead into the future, we hope to continue to be a pioneer by seeking new and innovative ways to help those in our community who are impacted by poverty. To be a true catalyst of change for the individuals and families we serve, and for the community at large.
To see all of the photos from the event, click here.