Why federal housing assistance is more important than ever

federal housing assistance

Federal housing assistance is a critical need–now more than ever.

Families and communities–like ours in the Quad Cities–need some resources to thrive.  We’ve relied for years, for instance, on federal housing assistance. Grant money from the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Agriculture (USDA) helped vulnerable people find stability by helping them into safe homes. That, in turn, has increased stability to the Quad Cities.

When families have stable, affordable homes, they can find jobs more easily, move up economically, do better in school, and stay healthy. Studies back this up. Affordable housing brings many positive effects. It promotes community development. And it boosts our local economy and our job creation.

Federal investments in affordable housing have already lifted millions of families out of poverty. Actually, five million in 2015 alone! Without help, many would live on the streets or in substandard or overcrowded conditions. Others might go without food, medicine or other basics because too much of their limited income has to pay the rent.

Quad Cities housing today

housing assistance need

Without further investments in low income housing, vulnerable people will lose their footing.

Despite their proven track record, HUD and USDA affordable housing programs haven’t gotten enough funding. What’s happened as a result? Today only a quarter of those who qualify for housing assistance get the help they need. And, the need continues to grow.

More people rent their homes than ever before. Because housing supply and rental assistance haven’t kept up with need, rents are rising everywhere. So, more families spend most of their income just keeping a roof over their heads. Homelessness rates are rising in many communities. On top of that, much of our nation’s affordable housing is deteriorating. What exists often isn’t appropriate for people with disabilities.

It’s not just us in the Quad Cities. Every state and congressional district is affected.

What to do?

We wish there was an easy answer. Since every community is different, so are their housing needs. But, we do know that we have to:

  • save and restore the affordable housing that we do have;
  • create more units of affordable housing for low income families; and
  • increase rental assistance and other programs that help make housing affordable.

None of that can happen without federal investment in affordable housing.

But, the Budget Control Act of 2011 decreased funding for affordable housing and community development programs by imposing low federal spending caps. These spending caps limit Congress’s power to invest in housing solutions. Just one example is that HUD housing and community development funding was $4.3 billion lower in 2016 than in 2010.

Result? It’s harder to house low income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other vulnerable folks. Any further budget cuts—such as those we’re facing in the proposed federal budget–will undermine even more of the federal safety net for housing.

What’s on the horizon for federal housing assistance?

housing cuts bar graph

Federal investments in low income housing, already on the decline, are slated for caps in 2018. Worse, the proposed budget will reduce that further (dark blue bar at right).

Since the Budget Control Act went into effect, Congress made some short-term agreements to increase spending beyond the budget caps. These agreements provided very limited budgetary relief. They also required parity for defense and non-defense spending (cuts to one should mean equal cuts to the other). That helped. It temporarily eased the pressure on affordable housing. But low spending caps will return in the 2018 fiscal year, unless the White House and Congress act again.

The budget cuts that are on the horizon threaten affordable housing and community development investments even further. (see chart, right) And that threatens millions of low income families. We need Congress to lift the spending caps and keep parity for defense and non-defense programs. That will bring the greatest highest level of funding possible for affordable housing.

The Upshot Is…

Yes, we have to work to reduce the U.S. deficit over the long-term. But balancing our budget shouldn’t be done on the backs of our low income families. Instead, we need to invest in the resources families and communities need to thrive. That builds stronger communities. And strong communities build a strong nation.


HMHI will keep you updated on ways you can help create the kind of national policy that will strengthen our nation. Visit our website frequently. We’ll keep you informed on how to protect low income families and strengthen our Quad Cities.

For more information, we recommend A Place to Call Home by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) of the National Low Income Housing Coalition from which the information in this article derived.

“Helping with Humor” 2017 set for June 4 at ComedySportz

Helping with Humor 2017

This great event uses humor to raise funds to help QCA adults battling homelessness.

Helping with Humor, our annual fundraiser, is Sunday, June 4 at ComedySportz Quad Cities in Rock Island, Il. Tickets are $10. The full proceed of every Helping with Humor 2017 ticket sold will go directly to Humility of Mary Shelter in Davenport, IA. This funds our mission and directly helps adults in the Quad Cities who are experiencing homelessness.

This improv comedy show, which runs from 6:00-8:00 PM, is rated “E” for audience members of all ages. Bring the whole family to this family-friendly event and enjoy the laughs. at 220 19th St, Rock Island, IL 61201–the theater home of ComedySportz Quad Cities.

Comedy effectively raises both community awareness and funding, comments Christie Adamson, Program Director at Humility of Mary Shelter. “We have a lot of fun each year at Helping with Humor,” she commented, “and we would love to fill every seat in the house for Helping with Humor 2017.”

A Team Effort

ComedySportz Quad Cities is the longest running show in the Quad Cities. The program features two teams of comedians battling for points and laughs based on the suggestions of the audience. By the end of the night, you won’t be able to stop laughing. And, your laughs will help a great cause and local organization.

Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. serves individual men and women experiencing homelessness. They provide shelter, stability, and access to physical and mental health resources for adults in need. Their emergency shelter bed facility operates at capacity year round. Although it receives grant assistance and public funding, some services they provide rely on direct funding through private donations and fundraising efforts.

Tickets can be purchased online here:
https://www.showclix.com/event/helping-with-humor

Or by calling the box office: 309.786.1111

**Please note that all tickets must be paid for in advanced and purchased through one of the options listed above.**

Follow the discussion and invite your friends on our Facebook event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/681038622104764/

Please join us. You’ll make a difference in our community. And, you’ll have fun!

Undocumented immigrants are welcome at Shelter

IMMIGRANTSPeople experiencing homelessness who are also unauthorized immigrants face extreme marginalization. Some undocumented immigrants come to the United States fleeing violence, political unrest or environmental disaster. Others hope to rejoin family, escape a life of poverty or seek opportunity and freedom. For most, our broken immigration system gave them no legal way to come here.

All migrants are separated from the bases that normally support survival: home, family and community. So, they may have an increased risk of homelessness. Many undocumented immigrants don’t know their rights and fear deportation. Because of this, some are reluctant to seek housing assistance when they need it.

But housing is a human right. Immigrants have rights to some housing programs that get funding from the federal government. Here at Shelter, no potential participant is required to produce–or even asked for–verification of their citizenship status.

Shelter complies with the federal Personal Responsibility And Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), a welfare reform legislation passed in 1996. According to PRWORA, Shelter, as a nonprofit charitable organization providing federal public benefits, we aren’t required to verify the eligibility of program participants.

Since we don’t have to ask about immigration status, we don’t. In this way, we—and other nonprofits like us–can help create a safer environment for immigrants who are seeking services.

Immigrants: Current Political Climate

Since President Trump signed executive orders on immigration policy, immigration officials can pursue and prosecute more undocumented immigrants. Last month, several undocumented immigrants leaving a hypothermia shelter located in a church in Virginia were apprehended. Shelters around the nation want to protect the rights of at-risk clients. And they want to be ready for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions.

ICE still adheres to a “sensitive location policy.” It prevents immigration enforcement actions like arrests, interviews, searches and immigration-only surveillance at certain places. This includes schools, places of worship, hospitals, public religious ceremonies, and public demonstrations without prior approval–unless some circumstances create urgency. Note that those apprehended from the Virginia shelter were taken when they were across the street, off the church property. A shelter like ours is not exempt.

Humility of Mary Shelter Privacy Policy

At Shelter, we don’t give out information about the individuals staying with us unless they have specifically signed a release of information permission statement for us to keep on file. This is because we believe people have a right to privacy. In many cases this anonymity is necessary to protect them from potential abusers or other people who may take advantage of them. But, beyond that, we simply believe people have a right to privacy. We don’t have the right to take that from them.

However, we do depart with our privacy policy in the case of a request from local law enforcement, cooperating with law enforcement if a participant is suspected of criminal behavior. Shelter doesn’t regard undocumented citizenship status in that same category. We are committed to protect individuals staying with us from deportation. We have always maintained an outstanding relationship with the Davenport Police Department and will continue partnering with them to keep our community safe while still remaining committed to protecting individuals from being deported.

 

 

Luncheon to raise funding for locals experiencing homelessness

HAVE A HEART FOR THE HOMELESSThe public is cordially invited to attend the “Have a Heart for the Homeless” 4th annual luncheon. The event takes place at noon on Saturday, February 4 at CASI, 1035 W. Kimberly Rd., Davenport, IA.

The proceeds will go to support two local shelters:

  • Christian Care, Rock Island where 30% of the residents are homeless veterans, and
  • Humility of Mary Shelter, Davenport, IA where 20% of the residents are homeless veterans.

Biaggi’s will cater the luncheon. Tickets for the event are $26.00 per person, gluten free menu is availalbe. [Snow date: February 18, 2017]

Entertainment will be provided by Lewis Knudsen.

For reservations please call Christy Schilling at 309-714-8317 or Elaine Kresse at 563-320-3325

Mail checks payable to “Valentine luncheon for the homeless” to:
Christian Care, PO Box 4176, Rock Island, IL 61204-4176

Attend and Sponsor!

Sponsorships are welcome. For sponsorship information and participation, download this form: Sponsorship Pledge Form.

Proceeds will be divided between the two shelters by the percentage of residents living in each shelter.

For more information, contact Barb Montgomery, chairperson: Cell-309-945-6129, Home-309-937-5700

New Shelter Donation Hub to Open February 1

donation hubHumility of Mary Housing, Inc. (HMHI) will serve as the donation ‘hub’ for all Humility of Mary agencies including Humility of Mary Shelter effective February 1, 2017. All donations that we previously received here at Humility of Mary Shelter (HMSI) at 1016 W. 5th St. Davenport will now only be received at Humility of Mary Housing (HMHI), on 3805 Mississippi Ave. in Davenport [MAP].

Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. At this time, we are only able to accept donations during these hours, as this is when we have staff available to accept them and sort them out. We encourage those who are unable to come during these available hours to partner with someone else that is donating, or wishes to donate, and have them bring your items with them.

By creating a central hub we can provide all our donors one convenient location for donation drop offs. This will save agency staff time and create some much-needed space for program expansion here at Shelter.

Donation Hub Needs

helpWith the expansion at Shelter and ongoing needs at Housing we anticipate a tremendous shortage of furniture in the coming months. We need small couches or loveseats, 2-4 seat dinette tables with chairs, nightstands, chest-type dressers, microwaves and table lamps. If you have any of these items to donate, please bring them to HMHI donation center.

A monetary donation of $144.00 can purchase a bed for a person experiencing homelessness. Donations can be made online on our website, by mail or by taking them to the Shelter or the new donation center. If you mail or take a Shelter donation to the administrative center or donation ‘hub,’ be sure to indicate that you intend it for us at Shelter.

We also accept donations of adult clothing, dishes, pots and pans, towels, sheets, pillows, accessories, etc. Please see this list on our website for a complete needs list.

If you have any questions, about donations, contact Patti Trapp, the Volunteer Coordinator at Humility of Mary Housing, Inc., 3805 Mississippi Avenue, Davenport IA  5280 or phone 563-326-1330. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Holiday Gift Project 2016: YOU make a difference!

holiday gift project 2016An open invitation from Christine Adamson, Director of Services at Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc.

The holiday season is fast approaching and we are preparing for another cold winter.

Your previous contributions have helped make Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. a place where people can start over and move forward. We are so grateful to you for the support you provide those experiencing homelessness in our community.

You are helping our staff touch the lives of hundreds – whether people are facing an urgent need like emergency shelter or seeking to improve their quality of life.

Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. is your community shelter. We exist to serve you and your loved ones in a time of crisis – to provide housing, healing and hope.

Your gift this year is extremely important because it offers immediate support that will be directed to current needs for our programming.

Donating to our Holiday Gift Project or giving a financial contribution will help make a tangible impact this season on those in our community who have no place to call home. Our entire staff and Board of Directors – everyone here who works to serve those struggling, joins me in thanking you for your generous partnership and support.

Listed below is our annual Holiday Gift Project and our needs this year. It is downloadable HERE.

Whether you are donating to this project or making a financial contribution, our doors are always open. I would love to meet each of you, give you a tour of our facility and talk more about the services we provide. There is an enormous amount of important work being done here every day to make our community a better place for everyone.

Your donation this holiday season will let someone know that people care, and that our community supports them during a difficult period in their life.

Thank you so much for your help.

With warmest wishes for a joy-filled holiday season,
Christine Adamson
Director of Services

Holiday Gift Project 2016

Click image to download a copy.

Local bike ride, chili lunch to support local veterans in need

military appreciation rideWieblers Harley-Davidson of Davenport has planned to honor and express appreciation for all US military personnel and veterans on Saturday, November 5. This special day’s activities will include a military honor ride lead by the American Legion Riders Post 569, a chili lunch, and more.

Registration for the ride will begin at 9 am at Wieblers Harley-Davidson at 5320 Corporate Park Drive in Davenport (52807). Participants are asked to make a donation of $10 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Humility of Mary Shelter of Davenport Veterans Services to assist local veterans in need.

Wieblers plans to send the bikes out at 10 am. The ride will return by noon for a free chili lunch, serving until it’s gone.

“We are looking forward to partnering and having the Humility of Mary Shelter as part of our event that day,” remarked John Riley, Wieblers events coordinator.

Cathy Jordan, Program Lead for the HMSI VALOR Program, expressed appreciation to Wieblers for their generous spirit. She hopes that the event will attract a good number of attendees.

Veteran support

Shelter’s VALOR [Veterans Accessing Long-Term Opportunities & Resources] program serves very low-income U.S. military veterans and their families who don’t have homes or who are in imminent risk of losing their housing. VALOR staff at Humility of Mary Shelter help program participants remedy these housing problems. Further, VALOR helps veterans address issues that led to their housing crisis. They focus on veterans who live in Scott, Muscatine and Clinton Counties, Iowa and Rock Island, Henry, Whiteside and Mercer Counties, Illinois.

The American Legion Riders of Post 569 have assisted Wieblers for years in support of veterans causes.

Humility of Mary Shelter really appreciates this community show of support that Wieblers has initiated. We encourage all local bikers to participate in the events of the day for the military honor ride.

Shelter Opens Clothing Room, Needs Volunteer Help

clothing room

Shelter participants flocked to the new clothing distribution room on its first day of service.

Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. today opened a new clothing distribution room that will provide a regular Shelter service. A room immediately inside the Shelter entrance is outfitted with an inventory of neatly folded and sorted donated items: clothing clearly marked with size, hygiene selections and other practical items. Each Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9 AM until 11 AM that room is open for all in need to select items they can use.

“The price is right,” exclaimed one delighted woman, “because everything is free!”

Many supporters in the Quad Cities area bring used clothing to the Shelter. This new clothing distribution system will get items to those who can use them more effectively. While current and past Shelter participants are eligible to receive these items, the room is also open to anyone in need.

Help Wanted!

Today Shelter staff oversaw the distribution of clothing, but they’re hoping for local volunteers to help says Jason Rockwell, Director of Shelter Operations.

“Basically, we just need someone here to see that the clothing remains neat. And a volunteer will let us know what inventory items we need to replenish at the end of the morning,” explained Jason.

“People can volunteer on a regular basis, like every Monday or every other Monday, or on a one-time basis, such as once a month.”

The room monitor will ensure that just two “customers” at any given time can select the items they need. The room is only about 150 square feet, so the two-at-a-time policy gives people the space they need to make those selections comfortably.

Clothing Room Equipment

Next week, the room will also have shelving to hold shoes. That’s in process. But, looking ahead, Jason also sees a need to provide outwear for the cold weather that’s coming.

For that, the Shelter set up a Wish List on Amazon.com, hoping to receive three commercial racks on wheels to hold winter coats. One of the three has been donated—and it’s already in service! The racks cost about $60. Jason is hoping that two more donors or groups will contribute one.

winter clothing rack

Shelter has received one of the three racks for winter clothing that they need. Donors can easily donate via Shelter’s Amazon.com Wish List. The first rack is already in use as volunteers prepare for coming winter weather.

Shelter supporters can also contribute anytime via PayPal. They can set up an automatically recurring donation on a regular basis. Monthly donations are especially important. They supply a regular, reliable source of funding.

The new clothing room saw constant use today. So, if the first day is an indicator, it appears to be a popular and useful service.

Humility of Mary Shelter: Insider Voices

Administrators, staff and participants explain what Humility of Mary Shelter means to them in a video that shares insider voices. And, they also share the Shelter’s importance to the Quad Cities Area community, in this video.

Humility of Mary Shelter provides emergency housing for single adults experiencing homelessness in the Quad Cities. Perhaps you’ve not yet had the opportunityus at Shelter. This video gives you a virtual visit, allowing you see parts of the facility, meet service providers and hear the testimony of those who are assisted.

You and/or your group or organization are welcome to visit. Do call and arrange a tour and talk. We will be happy to make you aquainted with our work. We’re all members of the Quad Cities Area community, and your support is vital to us.

 

“This is so exciting! This is why we do this work. It’s for days like today.”

apartment for chronically homeless

“Joe’s” camping gear is piled on the floor of his new apartment as he prepares to spend his first night indoors in his new home.

by Christie Adamson, Humility of Mary Shelter Director of Program Services

This month, Humility of Mary Shelter launches a new program to extend permanent, supportive housing to ten adults who are experiencing chronic homelessness. They have lived without a real home for over a year or have repeatedly experienced homelessness across the last several years. On May 3, the first designated program participant moved into his own apartment. Christie Adamson, HMSI’s Director of Program Services, describes the event and its significance:

Today we moved in the first of the ten we’ve selected. Joe’s* one of the guys who refused to come off the streets to sleep in our Shelter. He’d been coming to Shelter and engaging with us during the day, but he wouldn’t stay overnight. He had his camp.

We’d planned for him to meet us here at the Shelter at 8:30 AM. But, when I arrived at 6:30 AM this morning, he was already here! He said: “I’ve been up since 4 AM. I couldn’t sleep.”

Joe has two camp sites at different locations in the Quad Cities. He told us a couple days ago that he wasn’t tearing them down, because he couldn’t believe that we were really going to hand him keys to his own apartment today.

Well, he had a ton of gear since he’d been sleeping outside for so long. He couldn’t carry it all. So, three of us went with John in the Shelter van to get his gear:

  • Cathy Jordan [VALOR Director: Veterans Accessing Long-Term Opportunities & Resources Program], who’d initially developed rapport with John (who’s a vet),
  • Joe, who’ll be Joe’s new service coordinator.

And, I drove.

At a certain spot, Joe told us to pull over to the side of the busy road. He hopped out of the van, jumped a ditch, and disappeared into the woods. Soon, he returned lugging six army bags, and he quickly went back for five more. Apparently, he’d stashed his gear to be ready for this moving day. He’d packed up all his belongings and moved them from his campsite way back in the woods. And, he hid his things close to the road, so we could pick it all up.

Moving Day

bedroom for man suffering chronic homelessness

The bedroom is simple and plain. This bed will offer Joe his first night’s indoor sleep in six years.

This morning, when I first saw and greeted Joe in the Day Room, he responded, “Are you here to tell me that it’s not going to happen?” That was the first thing he said! He feared that I was coming to tell him that this apartment wasn’t going to happen. That’s how disillusioned he is with the system! The system hadn’t worked for him. It never had been simple like this is, with us just saying: “Here are your keys. We only need you to sign a couple papers and then we’ll see you in a week.”

During entire process of moving him in today, he kept anticipating that there’d be many hoops he had to jump through—people to see, therapy to attend. But, the reality is: he can’t mess this up. He just needs to live in the house and keep it to a landlord-acceptable standard. A service coordinator will meet with him to give support, but this program is flexible. It’s designed to help people with severe needs. There are no hoops he must jump through.

So, this is why we do this work. It’s for days like today. I’m excited. And, it’s exciting for the Quad City community!

*Name changed to protect confidentiality