The Journey: Joseph & Mary’s Home Partners with Cleveland Clinic to Advance the Medical Respite Model

The recent issue of The Journey, the biannual newsletter of Joseph & Mary’s Home, features a cover article about a pilot program with Cleveland Clinic to quantify benefits of the medical respite model and document best practices. The newsletter also has news about outcomes in 2022, a donor spotlight focused on monthly giving, a donor honor roll and more updates.

Crain’s Cleveland Business publishes letter from executive director about importance of funding medical respite programs for people experiencing homelessness

Crain’s Cleveland Business published an op/ed letter in this week’s print and digital editions from Executive Director Beth Graham. She wrote about the importance of medical respite care for medically fragile people experiencing homelessness and the importance of local funding for these vital programs.

2022 Joseph & Mary’s Home Angels: Thank You to Volunteers and In-Kind Gift Contributors

Many individuals and partners touched the lives of Joseph & Mary’s Home residents last year by providing everything from daily essentials like toiletries, bedding and towels, to warm winter coats and hats. These gifts help us welcome new residents and meet their basic needs. We are also very grateful to all the donors who made Thanksgiving and Christmas extra special.

Year in Review: Celebrating Expansion and Journeys of Hope in 2022

Joseph & Mary’s Home had a big year in 2022 and has big plans for 2023. Top on the list of accomplishments was the opening of Mary’s Home, a new 10-bed medical respite facility for women experiencing homelessness. Executive Director Beth Graham penned a letter highlighting accomplishments of 2022 and looking ahead to 2023.

Gratitude and Giving: Reflections on the Meaning of Home

Eileen Vizcaino, retired Presbyterian PC U.S.A. clergy woman, volunteers at
Mary’s Home leading a weekly poetry group. She also established a charitable gift annuity, making a donation to Joseph & Mary’s Home that helps support the ministry and pays her a quarterly dividend.

Staff Spotlight: Terry Green – Resident Support Associate

Known around Joseph & Mary’s Home as “by the book Green,” Terry Green has been a resident support associate for nearly four years. He helps ensure there is coverage 24/7/365 and works on different nights the second shift (4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.) and third shift (12:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.). As a recovering alcoholic having reached 30 years of sobriety, Terry said he views working with residents as “giving back.”

The Journey: Giving Gardens

For years, the garden behind Joseph’s Home has provided residents with a quiet oasis to help them relax and continue their healing journey. It is filled with flowers, plants, trees, sculptures and places to sit, and has been built and maintained by dedicated volunteers.
The garden has been so important to Joseph’s Home residents, it inspired the creation of a similar outdoor space at Mary’s Home. Thanks to a generous donation from the Sullivan family, the Thomas C. and Sandra S. Sullivan Memorial Garden was built in the summer.

Perseverance in Hope 2022 Raises $95,000 to Support Healing and Assistance with Permanent Housing

More than 400 people attended the Perseverance in Hope 2022 Benefit Luncheon at Windows on the River in Cleveland on September 13. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped us raise $95,000, and to everyone who supports our mission and was unable to join us for this special day. When we gather together for events like Perseverance in Hope, you are saying that everyone requires a place to call home, that everyone requires high-quality health services when they are ill.

Mary’s Home Resident Spotlight: Peaches, Future Cancer Survivor

If someone were to meet you for the first time, what would you want them to know about you?
I want them to know that I am battling cancer and I am so grateful to MetroHealth and Mary’s Home. I was living in an unsafe apartment with bedbugs. The rent went up and I couldn’t afford it. In July, I was forced out and all I had was the clothes on my back. Legal Aid Society helped connect me to Mary’s Home. Now I’m in a clean, safe place. If I can tell my story, maybe I can help others who are still battling cancer or have survived cancer.

What is a hope of yours?
My hope is to be a cancer survivor. I want to live five years and even more than that period. I also hope that I can get back on my feet and get housing.

What is something in your life you love?
I love my dog. His name is Handsome Man. He is my support. He is my therapist. He is there for me. But unfortunately we are separated right now. My legal team is being a good foster family for him and I see him regularly.

If you could tell the world anything, what would it be?
I would tell the world that I am at the best hospital, which is MetroHealth at the main campus with a great cancer team and a great surgical team. I have a great cancer doctor, Kimberly Resnick. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. She saved my life and I am very indebted and grateful. Now I see life differently. Cancer has changed me. I have accepted my life, that I have cancer, and I will have to take chemo all the rest of my life. And as far as Mary’s Home, I have a great team here who is working very closely with me, especially Raven, Richard, Beth and nurse Katie, and I have gratitude for that. I am on a new journey. If anyone has cancer please by all means have it checked out and if caught early, get treated. And most of all I would like to thank the American Cancer Society. The Cancer Society supports me and talks to me. And I would like to dedicate my life to the American Cancer Society, Mary’s Home and my great cancer team, because all the people who I have worked with have saved my life.

Bishop Edward Malesic visits Joseph’s Home and Mary’s Home

We were thrilled to welcome The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, the bishop of Cleveland, August 2. The Bishop met with leadership and residents to learn more about Joseph’s Home and Mary’s Home, and the ultimate goal of housing as healing. He learned firsthand about these medical respite ministries before he is the keynote speaker at the Perseverance in Hope luncheon on Sept. 13 at Windows on the River in Cleveland. Read more about his visit in this news article from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

The full text of the article is below or available here.

Mission, ministry of Joseph’s and Mary’s homes shared with bishop

News of the Diocese
August 3, 2022

The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine began serving in the Diocese of Cleveland as the city’s first public health nurses when they arrived here in 1851 from France.

In the 171 years since, the sisters have worked with some of the area’s most impoverished and vulnerable residents – a ministry that continues with Joseph’s Home (serving men) and Mary’s Home (serving women), a pair of medical respite facilities under the auspices of the Sisters of Charity Health System.

Bishop Edward Malesic got his first look at the homes during a visit on Aug. 2. Beth Graham, executive director, and Anthony Searcy, a Gesu (University Heights) parishioner and chair of Joseph’s Home’s board of trustees, helped guide the bishop through the facilities. Residents greeted him with a cheery “Hello” and one woman even asked for his blessing.

The bishop listened intently as staff members and residents talked about the homes and their importance to the community. He commended the staff for their dedication to their ministry and offered his prayers and support for them and the residents.

He learned that about 30 years ago, some of the sisters recognized the growing problem of those experiencing homelessness, especially those who had been discharged from the hospital and had nowhere to stay as they recovered. A “Dream Team” of sisters studied the situation and decided to focus on meeting the needs of men experiencing homelessness. As their work continued, the seeds of Joseph’s house were planted.

In 1997, the CSAs approved the incorporation of Joseph’s Home. During the next few years, they secured the use of a former convent near St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, the downtown hospital run by the sisters, and raised money for renovations and working capital.

In May 2000, Joseph’s Home opened. The first resident was welcomed that August. Its mission is to help the men residents obtain permanent housing, improve their health, obtain a GED, develop job skills and prepare to enter the workforce.

The companion facility, Mary’s Home, opened in March in an adjacent building. Graham, who serves as executive director for both, said they fill a much-needed niche as medical respites. Only about three such facilities exist in Ohio and Mary’s Home is the only one Graham knows of that serves women.

She said they work with many social service and medical organizations to ensure that residents’ needs are met. Joseph’s Home serves about 40-50 men in a typical year. It can house up to 11 men at a time, while Mary’s Home can accommodate up to 10 women. Nutritious meals are prepared by the dietary staff at SVCM, which is across the street.

Residents have their own private rooms, access to common areas including outdoor courtyard/sitting spaces, laundry facilities and restrooms. Graham said the Sisters of Charity Health System donated some statues, including an outdoor Blessed Mother statue for Mary’s Home, and some crucifixes.

She noted that many former Joseph’s Home residents have improved/stabilized their health and found permanent housing. An average stay is about 75 days. Since Mary’s home opened, five women have passed through. One found permanent housing (see related video), one chose to leave and three moved into a facility with a higher level of care.

Although there were many challenges during the pandemic, Graham said the Joseph’s Home staff adapted, implemented safety guidelines and kept the facility open. Mary’s Home, a former school, was under renovation and pandemic-related supply chain issues delayed the arrival of furniture and other items.

Both facilities are at capacity, Graham said.

According to data collected by the two facilities, 77% of men at Joseph’s Home are older than 55. Data for the first quarter of Mary’s Home’s operations showed that 82% of the residents were older than 55. Because they serve adults who are experiencing both homelessness and medical issues, Graham said they tend to skew older.

Peaches, a Mary’s Home resident who has been battling cancer, told Bishop Malesic, “The house gave me a place to stay, a place to shower and a place to eat.”

The bishop urged the staff and board to continue sharing the facilities’ story. “People don’t want to be homeless,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate that Mary’s Home and Joseph’s Home are needed,” Searcy said. “But we’re here for those who need them.”

Both homes welcome in-kind donations of cash, gift cards – especially Target, Home Depot, Giant Eagle, Dave’s Markets, ALDI, Walmart and Visa gift cards — new under garments, socks and personal hygiene items like razors, shaving cream, moisturizing body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunscreen, textured hair care products, hair brushes and hair picks. Call Erin Gay Miyoshi, development director, at 216-987-9201 for more information.

Bishop Malesic will be the keynote speaker at the Perseverance in Hope fundraising luncheon on Sept. 13. Click here for more information.

Joseph’s Home and Mary’s Home are ministries of the Sisters of Charity Health System.