We're All in This Together

A Message from Our President and CEO John Schiavone

Read more about SVDP's response to Covid-19

Dear Friend,

All of us suddenly and unexpectedly find ourselves in the midst of a national health crisis that will test us as individuals, as communities, and as a nation.  The challenges before us are like nothing we have ever seen, and we are all now forced to endure huge life adjustments and restrictions that will be with us for quite some time.

During this time of extreme strife and uncertainty, St Vincent de Paul of Baltimore is ever more dedicated to the safety, health, and wellbeing of our staff and those we serve.

Maintaining Critical Services

While the best course of action with this type of outbreak is for everyone to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with others, many of those we serve have no home to go to. They are staying in one of our four shelters: the Sarah’s Hope, Hannah More, and Innterim House Family Shelters, and our Monument Street Men’s Shelter.

We continue to provide daily meal services at the Beans and Bread Homeless Day Resource Center on a “To Go” basis.  Our KidzTable central community kitchen continues to provide healthy food access by producing and delivering 4,000 meals a day throughout the region to individuals and families at shelters, other congregate care facilities, and recreation sites. These services must continue.  I am so grateful for our dedicated staff members who are bravely on the front lines of this crisis, serving the most vulnerable in our community.

We are also adapting some of our other vital supportive services, such as providing remote case management by phone to the hundreds of men, women, and families in our housing programs who need our support now more than ever to stay safely housed.

Protecting Health and Safety

The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, staff, and partners is always a top priority. To keep everyone as safe as possible, we have implemented strict measures, including suspending some services, encouraging social distancing, and temporarily pausing all on-site volunteers so that we may limit, control, and monitor the number of people in our facilities.

We are now screening everyone in our facilities each day, both clients and staff, for possible COVID-19 infection.  We are doing everything in our power to make sure those who are identified as needing testing, and medical care, receive it.  We have also implemented enhanced cleaning and frequent sanitation of our facilities, increased access to hand sanitizer, added more signage and verbal reminders to wash hands, and educated our staff and clients about safe practices.

How You Can Help

I am ever so grateful to you for supporting us as we persevere during this crisis and continue to feed, shelter, and house the most vulnerable in our community. I know many of you are also facing tough times. Please know that you, and all who are affected by this terrible crisis, are in my prayers.

For those of you who would like to help us, here is what you can do:

  • Make a Gift Today: Monetary donations are needed now more than ever. As we continue to provide essential services, we are incurring huge additional costs, including increased staffing, food, medical supplies and other materials in order to stretch our capacities to meet the need.
  • Donate Supplies: We need extra supplies for our shelters, to supplement meals and give our residents support with other needs. You can purchase our most needed supplies and have them shipped directly through our Amazon Wishlist.
  • Spread the Word: We need help! Please use digital media to repost our updates and needs. You can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We are bracing ourselves for greater need, as many individuals and families will lose their income due to the economic fall-out from this crisis.  We anticipate a large portion of our community will face hardships beyond their control that will limit their ability to maintain stability.  We need your support, now more than ever, to answer the calls for help with food, shelter, housing, and employment services.

We’re All in this Together

St. Vincent de Paul has been serving those in need in the Baltimore area for 155 years. We have weathered many storms. With the support of you and others in our community, we fully expect to weather this storm too, while continuing to provide of critical services to the community.

Let us keep foremost in our thoughts that we are in this together. While we can't physically be together in close proximity right now, we can continue to be together in a spirit of compassion, care, and kindness for one another while we unite to fight this virus.

Thank You!

Thank you for believing in our mission and for demonstrating your kindness and generosity in making this world a better place for those who are suffering. Let us all pray for the strength to persevere through this crisis with grace and faith that, together, we will overcome this grave challenge. Please stay safe!

Sincerely,

John Schiavone

President and CEO

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore Serving Emergency Meals

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore is participating in the Summer Food Service Program.  Meals will be provided to all children without charge.  

To ensure that children who are food insecure due to the COVID 19 virus have access to healthy meals, SVDP is serving emergency meals through the Summer Meals Service Program starting on March 17th at 5 Police Athletic League sites in Baltimore County.  Click the outreach notice to find the addresses of the 5 PAL locations in the Baltimore County part of the chart.   Click here for a full list of sites and times.

 

 

The Working Poor Are Struggling to Stay Afloat

Yvonne and Roger were both working and paying bills, but they were always falling behind, before they were evicted. One or two lost paychecks stood between them and homelessness.

They defined the working poor. Literally.

The growing cost of housing in Baltimore and the growing needs of the working poor are the expansive and central components of the United Way ALICE Report. United Way serves as a partner agency to St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. Annually data is collected and analyzed to determine budget required to live in Baltimore City and each county of Maryland by zip codes. The report proves our work is needed more than ever.

ALICE reports households whose income is over the Federal poverty level, yet still struggling to meet basic needs. The survival budget reports the bare minimum costs to live in Baltimore City for families. It ranges from $21,756 for a single adult to $64,392 for 2 adults, one infant and one pre-school aged child. The survival budget includes annual costs of housing, childcare, food, transportation, healthcare, technology, taxes and miscellaneous expenses for families. Basic monthly housing in Baltimore City range from $851 - $1,298; equaling $10,212 to $15,576 annually respectively.

The median household annual income in Baltimore City is $47,350, compared to average state annual income is $78,945. Poverty is an epidemic problem in Baltimore City.

The working poor like Yvonne and Roger are struggling to stay afloat. St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s commitment to improving poverty and reducing homelessness is helping hundreds of families who are one check away from losing everything.

On Saturday, September 19, 2020 you can be the light you want to see.  Equinox is a new, exciting, one-night only, indoor/outdoor event to raise funds and awareness to end homelessness in the Baltimore area.  This unique event will feature a Chesapeake-inspired menu, beer, wine, and free parking with ticket.  Enjoy live music from Reverend Smackmaster & the Congregation of Funk and a silent auction, surrounded by a spectacular light installation and stunning waterfront view.  Visit equinoxbaltimore.com for tickets and information.  Join us for the special night and #BETHELIGHT.

SVDP Expands its Homeless Services With Monument Street Shelter for Men

Effective July 1, 2019, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore began operating the Monument Street Shelter, a 124 bed shelter for men experiencing homelessness with funding and support from the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services.  SVDP has expanded case management services at the shelter and looks forward to bringing more resources to stabilize the living conditions for the men in our care.

Previously, most of the beds were up for grabs every day, meaning men had to line up early each afternoon and consume time and energy each day just to make sure they had a bed for the night,” said Toni Boulware, Senior Director of Homeless Services for SVDP. “Under St. Vincent de Paul, almost all of the beds are reserved each night so the men will be able to focus more of their time on gaining the resources they need to overcome their barriers and become stably housed.

Over time, SVDP plans to steadily improve the quality of care and the amount of services offered at the Monument Street Shelter.  “Our client-focused approach includes best practice strategies of Housing First, Trauma Informed Care, and Client-Provider Partnership. The primary focus of all of St. Vincent de Paul’s homeless services is housing stability, while supporting our clients to improve their health, economic self-sufficiency, and overall wellbeing”, stated Mary Rode, Chief Operating Officer of SVDP.

On September 19, 2020 a new fundraising event EQUINOX will take place at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.  Join us for this exciting one-night celebration aiming to help people move beyond homelessness.  The event will feature Chesapeake-inspired food, beer, wine, live music from Reverend Smackmaster & the Congregation of Funk, silent auction, and a creative lighting display.  Fun cocktail attire and free parking included with ticket.  Proceeds will benefit the shelter and housing programs of St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. 

For more information, visit www.equinoxbaltimore.org.

Charm City Run has designated St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore the Official Charity Partner for the 2020 Under Armour KELLY St. Patrick's Day Shamrock 5K.

Shamrock 5K - Sunday, March 15, 2020

1PM – 4PM

Charm City Run has designated St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore the Official Charity Partner for the 2020 Under Armour KELLY St. Patrick's Day Shamrock 5K.

As the beneficiary of the race, we need volunteers to staff the starting line, water stops, and the post-race tent. The more volunteers we turn out, the more money the race donates to our work. All volunteers will get an awesome Shamrock 5K volunteer shirt.  Students can earn service hours too.  (Anyone 12 years and older is eligible to volunteer - but under 18 years old requires parent or guardian participation.)  

For more information about volunteering, contact volunteer@vincentbaltimore.org or call (410) 662-0500

Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight

Since 2012, Jennifer Lee has been a mainstay at Beans & Bread.  There is a comfort and familiarity with Jennifer as she welcomes diners for the meals.  Often greeted by name, you can see she truly cares about every client.  Jennifer originally began volunteering as a way to serve the less fortunate, but what she’s gained has impacted her life outside of her service.

Jennifer looks forward to seeing the clients when she is on duty.  Although she is there to support them, she says, “I have made some great friends at Beans & Bread, and have received lots of love and support”. 

“What has mostly kept me coming back is the feeling of community. The staff at Beans & Bread are wonderful.  Working alongside of them, and the other volunteers to serve a meal to as many who come is a great thing to be a part of. I have loved watching Beans and Bread double in size, and provide additional services like showers and use of computers.  It has become a big part of my life and I feel lucky to be a small part of it.”  - Jennifer Lee

“Jennifer is one of our most dedicated volunteers we have” – Bev Alston, Program Director at Beans & Bread.

In addition to managing tasks on her routine volunteer shifts, she also assists with the Empty Bowls Silent auction.  We are so grateful for her service.

Thank you Jennifer - keep up the great work!

Meet Laura, Front Door Director

Laura is the Director of Front Door – Rapid Re-Housing Program. Front Door connects –80 people to better housing every year.

Laura had no idea that a simple direct conversation with new client Angela would change the trajectory of Angela’s entire family.

“I simply asked Angela, did she have somewhere safe to sleep tonight and if a space was available at Sarah’s Hope would she and her children be able to move-in” said Laura.

Sometimes we forget the power of a question.

That simple question, all in the scope of Laura’s daily tasks at Front Door, literally opened the door to a safe and warm place for Angela’s family to get back on their feet, out of the cold, out of borrowed cars and vans.

Angela’s memory is that it saved her! It was the dead of winter and she was out of options. It was too frigid to sleep in a borrowed car. She needed something more. Something safe and warm.

“I’m determined to make sure no one sleeps outside.”

“I’m determined to make sure no one sleeps outside.” said Laura. “especially if they do not want to sleep outside.”

“We are able to let them know it is their choice,” Laura continues. “Sarah’s Hope is a safe environment, but to many people who have experienced trauma and loss of dignity in shelters, they cannot fathom being on the street or in a transitional housing facility again.”

St. Vincent de Paul is re-defining “shelter” especially for people like Angela who have experienced trauma from past experiences.

“I am so happy Angela trusted me in that moment and made a decision to stay at Sarah’s Hope. She trusted that it was the right choice. She worked with her caseworker to set goals, make a plan and within a short time she and her family were re-housed in a place she could call home.”  concluded Laura.

Spotlight on Trauma Informed Care

We are all shaped by our experiences, and nothing leaves a more lasting impact than trauma.  Trauma, defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, leaves a physical impression on the brain altering normal responses.  We as humans have all experienced some form of trauma in our lives such as shock, distress, pain, suffering, grief, or heartache.

Recognizing that most of our clients have experienced or are experiencing trauma, SVDP is adopting a Trauma-Informed Care model as the philosophy of care.  The foundation of Trauma-Informed Care is treating everyone with respect as individuals and families.  Once we are operating with a trauma informed filter, we may better meet clients where they are.

We are committed to training all employees and volunteers on the unique needs of those in our care.  All SVDP Homeless Services staff completed Trauma-Informed Care training this summer.  We are excited to team up with Aetna Better Health of Maryland to provide Trauma-Informed Care training as part of orientation.  The Trauma-Informed Care training will help staff recognize the effect of trauma on clients while being mindful of the trauma he or she has experienced.

They Filled My Plate and Then They Filled My Heart

Maryland is the wealthiest state in the nation, when measured by per capita income, but not all Marylanders share in the prosperity.  Across the state, a staggering 1 in 10 households struggle against hunger.  When Shay first walked through our doors, she wasn't just hungry, she was empty.  Not only did she not have enough to eat, she had no one to count on.  She was only in her early 20's but Shay was already world weary.  She was starved for basic love and care.  We immediately helped Shay by giving her nutritious food through our Beans & Bread meal program.  Once Shay started coming regularly to Beans & Bread for food, we connected her to a Career Navigator, who identified many barries Shay faced to finding a good job.  Working with the Career Navigator, Shay chose to enroll in our Next Cours food service job training program, and her transformation truly began.  Through Next Course, Shay learned valuable cooking and food service skills and completed a ServSafe Manager's certification that allowed her to launch a new career upon graduation from the program.  Through our Front Door Rapid Rehousing Program, Shay was connected with permanent housing.  She has a steady home, a safe home, and most importantly she has hope.  "I can actually think about a real future now," Shay says.  "I'm not just trying to survive day by day.  I never thought this would be possible, and I'm just so grateful!"

Baltimore Equinox Event 2020

September 19, 2020

#BETHELIGHT

New Fundraising Event!

Saturday, September 19, 2020

7PM - 11PM 

Baltimore Musuem of Industry

Join us for this one-night celebration aiming to help people move beyond homelessness - be the light you want to see!  All proceeds will support the shelter and housing programs for St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore.  #BETHELIGHT

Tickets are available now, visit www.equinoxbaltimore.com

New Early Childhood Development Center Opens at Newly Renovated Arlington Elementary School in Park Heights

21st Century Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in front of Arlington Elementary School

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore announced on August 26th, the opening of a brand new Early Childhood Development Center at the modernized Arlington Elementary School.  The new Early Childhood Development Center was created as part of the Baltimore City Public School System renovation of Arlington Elementary School, which is scheduled to re-open in September.  On Wednesday, August 28th, 21st Century Schools hosted a Ribbon Cutting to celebrate.

The refurbished Arlington site will provided children with a healthy, safe, efficient, modern space, which will support excellence in teaching and learning with flexible, adaptable spaces, learning areas designed for interaction, collaboration, technology equipped classrooms and shared community spaces, including three teaching walls, tablets, touch screen learning and developmentally appropriate robotics.  St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore's Head Start program as 68 center-based slots in 6 classrooms at Arlington, serving 60 families.  The St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore Head Start program provides early childhood education services to prepare children for school, while also achieve financial, housing, health stability goals, benefitting the families served and the entire community.  Stay tuned for the official grand opening of the Early Childhood Development Center.

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore's Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Development Center

One of the Head Start classrooms at the Early Childhood Development Center

Front entrance of Arlington Elementary School before the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

This year, Camp St. Vincent has been all about learning.  This summer we welcomed over 200 children, ages 5-14 who are experiencing homelessness in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.  Camp St. Vincent creates and environment where our campers learn through fun.  From field trips to the Maryland Science Center, the Baltimore Museum of Industry, the National Aquarium, and American Visionary Art Museum, to in-camp activities like making homemade ice cream, park observations from the historic Patterson Park Pagoda, daily swim lessons, and a rich social emotional curriculum, Camp St. Vincent campers were always learning.

Every year, Camp St. Vincent relies on volunteer camp counselors.  This year, over 130 area high school students gave at least 80 hours of their time in service.  They helped wtih everything.  Everyday camp counselors set up all equipment and tents, led campers in daily sports, and guided them through social emotional activities.  Our volunteers provide guidance, frienship and stability to our campers but also provide them with daily support and love.

The Relationship Between Housing and Economic Mobility

The relationship between housing and economic mobility stable housing is critical to child development and family well-being. For young children, a stable home provides a positive environment for engaging in nurturing relationships with parents and other family members. For parents, a stable place to live ensures that they can devote their attention to their family rather than worry about housing. Parents in stable housing are also better able to find and maintain steady employment to provide for their families. Yet, for many families, stable and affordable housing is out of reach. Many families with low incomes struggle with the cost of housing. This can result in frequent moves, substandard housing conditions, or even homelessness. Housing uncertainty is often a large source of stress that over the long-term poses risks to child and family well-being. With more and more families renting in already tight rental markets, housing assistance programs can provide critical support. Some programs subsidize the cost of housing or provide temporary housing for families experiencing homelessness. Others help families finance the purchase of a home. Families that receive housing assistance are also more likely to enroll in more programs that offer benefits to further support families' well-being. There are many things that all programs can do to support their families to reach their housing goals, specific services vary by community but, Head Start Family Service Coordinators are available to share housing programs and eligibility requirements with their families for the long term success of their families. Source: Office of Head Start (OHS).

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