Coffee: Critically needed

coffee: critical need

Coffee: if you need it, you need it. And, at Shelter, we really need it now for our day shelter participants.

Our day shelter is safe and climate controlled, but has few amenities. The one “frill” we offer the people who come here during the day–and also in the evening–is the comfort of a warm cup of coffee. We rely completely on outside donations to keep our pot in operation. Sometimes we receive an influx from a drive sponsored by a group or congregation. But every influx eventually depletes.

And so, today: our shelves are empty.

With coffee creamer and sugar

Our people aren’t fussy. They don’t demand any certain trademark or designer type. Any ground beans with do. Bring any size–the bigger the better, of course.

To really make someone’s day, a donation of ground sugar or nondairy creamer can turn that black brew into a real treat.

We really would appreciate your donations. Thank you!

ComedySportz teams with Shelter to present Helping With Humor

Helping With Humor

ComedySportz presents Helping With Humor to benefit Humility of Mary Shelter on May 20m 2016.

On Friday May 20th at The Establishment in Rock Island, a comedy show will turn laughter into dollars for local adults experiencing homelessness at Humility of Mary Shelter. At 7 pm, the longest running show in the Quad Cities, ComedySportz, will offer two teams of improv comedians competing against each other for points and laughs. They’ll donate forty percent of all ticket sales the Shelter in a fundraiser that’s become an annual favorite. The show is rated E for Everyone, and everyone is encouraged to come contribute to a much needed service in our community.


ComedySportz staff invited HMSI employees to join them on stage at a previous program.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with ComedySportz again this year and look forward to all the laughs” says Christie Adamson, Director of Services at Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc.

Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. provides 83 beds nightly in an overnight emergency shelter for adults who face an urgent housing need. It also manages a day shelter from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday, offering both Humility of Mary Emergency Shelter participants and members of the Quad City Area civic community a safe, climate-controlled and monitored environment. The day shelter offers an indoor common space that’s furnished with tables and chairs. A telephone is available for free local calls. The local newspaper is available as well as a listing of current employment position openings in this locality. As donations permit, coffee and snacks are available at no cost.

In addition, Humility of Mary Shelter’s Outreach Team extends a regular presence to assist those living on the streets or in other places not meant for habitation. The Outreach Team brings food, water, hygiene items, clothing and bedding. The Outreach Team also brings information for housing, healthcare and meal sites. It connects individuals on the streets with community resources and opportunities for safe housing in the Quad City Area.

Recently, HMSI was honored with a Quad City Better Business Bureau Integrity Award for outstanding commitment to fair, honest and ethical practices.

Helping With Humor 2016

ComedySportz logo“Improv and comedy are in our blood.  We are in our element, we are just creating that element as we go,” said long time ComedySportz player George “Big G” Schulz, “we are thrilled to share what we do and help out our community.”

Tickets to the show are $12 in advance and $14 at the door.  Tickets available by calling 309-786-1111, or you may purchase them online through The Establishment.

Trivia Night benefit for Shelter: April 2

Trivia Night April 2

Teams of up to 8 people can register now!

Humility of Mary Shelter is sponsoring a Trivia Night fundraiser on Saturday, April 2 at the Golden Leaf Banquet Center. Proceeds will benefit adults experiencing homelessness in the Quad Cities who receive help at Humility of Mary Shelter.

Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. Trivia event begins at 6:00 p.m. Team registration is open. Teams of up to eight people can register at $80 per team. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited! The registration deadline is March 30. Download the registration form and informational flier HERE. Mail this form and payment to:

HMSI, 3805 Mississippi Ave., Davenport, IA 52807 Attn: Emily Harvey

trivia flier

Click the image to download this trivia information and registration form and register a team today!

Participant, can bring their own cold snacks–hot dishes and beverages not allowed. Cash bar will be provided (Please don’t bring your own beverages.) Mulligans are available!

All participants who bring an item from the HMSI Wish List to donate will be entered into the door prize drawing.

A silent auction will add to the fun and excitement of the evening.

For further information, contact Emily Harvey at (563) 326-1330.

The Golden Leaf Banquet Center is located at 2902 East Kimberly Road, Davenport, IA. [MAP]

Shelter Uses Person-first Language (…or “Why we don’t help ‘the homeless’”)

person-first language

We treat each person with dignity. Our language reflects that, too.

At Shelter, we believe in person-first language. “Person-first language” puts emphasis on the person. Any person is more important than the words that describe him or her. So, for us working in the housing field, we make an effort to say “people experiencing homelessness” rather than “the homeless” or “homeless people.”

Person-first language isn’t great from a writer and editor’s point of view. It uses more words to say something we could say in just two words. But, for us, that negative is worth the positive we gain. For us, using person-first language is actually another way we can help defeat homelessness.

Using person-first language chips away some deeply embedded stereotypes. When I speak of “the homeless,” my language creates a group of people that doesn’t include myself. So that kind of language can make me feel like people experiencing homelessness are somehow quite different from me. And, after all, we’re all people, not so different at that.

Another problem with talking about “the homeless” is that there are so many different reasons that people are homeless. Speaking about “the homeless” lumps everyone together into one group. That’s really not accurate. Among our adult population at Shelter people deal with a tremendous diversity of issues. Some are unemployed or underemployed. Some struggle with substance abuse. Others are veterans. Many have health issues. Some people have been incarcerated, others have experienced victimization in many different forms. So “the homeless” really does not convey how diverse the group is that’s suffering homelessness.

Person-first language

Person-first language also helps us recall that experiencing homelessness does not define who a person is. Someone experiencing homelessness probably once had a home and, hopefully, will again have one in the future. Homelessness is something they’re undergoing or experiencing now, but it’s temporary. Each of us is much more than what we’re experiencing at any given moment. Each of us deserves the dignity of that recognition.

These are some of the reasons that we try to use person-first language at Shelter. We try to refer to the folks we serve as “people experiencing homelessness” even though it takes extra syllables. Are we perfect at it? No. We still slip and say “the homeless” sometimes. But, we keep trying. Because language creates a reality. And, we want a world where all people receive respect, regardless of what they are going through at any point in their lives. We’re all people, after all.

Welcome to Shelter’s Facebook Community!

Shelter's Facebook

We invite you to join Humility of Mary Shelter’s Facebook community:

Humility of Mary Shelter is forming a vibrant support community on Facebook, and we’d love for you to join it. With the assistance of an award from Facebook and ActionSprout, an online agency that supports nonprofits, we’ve nearly doubled our supporters in 2015. It’s become a place where those who value our mission have an opportunity to follow more closely the news and the local insights of assisting people who are experiencing homelessness.

This social media site gives HMSI the opportunity to thank our supporters more easily and frequently. A short video slideshow is one avenue that’s successfully expressed our gratitude. It’s received nearly 17,000 views (as of this post). We repost it here:

Facebook lets supporters and the general public easily contact us. The messaging center never closes. It gives supporters one more way to easily donate support through the “Donate Now” button. A new feature introduced in the Fall 2015, supporters are already beginning to use the feature to lend a financial hand to the Shelter’s programming. Only $10 will support one person in need of a home for one day and one night at Shelter.

“Like” us on Facebook

We encourage you to use your free account to join our online community by “Liking” us on Facebook. Learn about news affecting housing in the U.S., share in our experiences, see what others in the Quad Cities are doing to support us at Shelter–you’ll grow and be inspired. We hope to see you there!

Scott County Housing Council receives over $400K Iowa funding for local affordable housing

affordable housing

Influx of state money will bost affordable housing in Scott County and Muscatine County.

The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors recently approved more than $6.3 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives. This will assist 2,469 Iowa families. The Scott County Housing Council (SCHC) received $409,961 of that funding. This money is designated specifically to assist organizations in our area.

Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. and Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc., each agency a participating member of the Scott County Housing Council, will benefit from this major grant. Muscatine and Scott Counties fall in the SCHC’s area of jurisdiction.

“The partnership between the Iowa Finance Authority and Local Housing Trust Funds is one that pays dividends to affordable housing in Iowa,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison. “The grants announced today are leveraging an additional $2.7 million in local contributions, which is a testament to the shared commitment to meeting these vital housing needs.”

This money comes from The State Housing Trust Fund, a fund the Iowa Legislature created in 2003. Since its inception, the program has provided $50.1 million in affordable housing assistance. This funding has helped more than 17,600 Iowa families. Additionally, this funding has leveraged another $151.2 million in other funds or $2.68 for every dollar of State Housing Trust Fund investment.

VALOR program receives grant from local AUSA chapter

ausa award

The Rock Island Arsenal Chapter of AUSA (Association of the United States Army) provided $10,000 worth of community grants to Humility of Mary Shelter’s VALOR program and ten other local organizations. An AUSA Board Member (L) presents the award to Sandi Burrichter (R), Shelter’s Development Director.

Humility of Mary Shelter’s program “Veterans Accessing Long Term Opportunities & Resources” or VALOR received a community grant from the Rock Island Arsenal Chapter of AUSA, the Association of the United States Army. VALOR helps very low income military veterans in our area who do not have homes or who are in immediate risk of losing their homes. Sandi Burrichter. HMSI’s Development Director, accepted the check—one of eleven given to local organizations that improve lives of servicemen and woman and Veterans in the Quad Cities.

According to AUSA, “Many of the beneficiaries of these organizations include the homeless, the disabled, the hungry, the wounded and the proud men and women who are, or who have served our Nation in harm’s way.” AUSA credits local agencies they honored with serving those who would otherwise “go forgotten.”

“Quite simply, these organizations change lives,” they state.

The grants, totaling $10,000, were presented to the local organizations on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 10:00 AM at an event held at the RIA Federal Credit Union Corporate Headquarters in Bettendorf, Iowa.

AUSA is a non-profit organization. Its broad charter is to represent America’s Soldiers by being their voice to lawmakers. They foster public support for national security, and providing professional education and information programs. At the local level, the AUSA chapter is comprised of volunteers who spend time and energy raising funds and sponsoring organizations throughout the year.

Quad-Cities Homeless Memorial Service remembers the perished

homeless memorial service vigil

File photo shows scene at previous Homeless Memorial service. Credit: QC Shelter and Transitional Council

For people experiencing homelessness, the night of December 21 is very long. It’s the night of the winter solstice…the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. It marks the beginning of a season of struggle to find a place to sleep to escape the elements of winter.

names of the dead

Service will remember those homeless or formerly homeless from the Quad Cities who have perished in the past year.

So, that morning at 7:30 am, people who care about those who are experiencing homelessness will gather for the annual Quad-Cities Homeless Memorial Service. It takes place in the parking lot of the Community Health Care Clinic, 500 W. River Drive, Davenport. The public is invited to attend this event. Similar services take place across the nation on this day. The service will remember those who have died in the past year who were currently or formerly experiencing homelessness. The service includes music and poetry readings, as well as a moment of silence.

Memorial Service Vigil

burn barrel

Those on the streets warm themselves near burn barrels.

Following the service, from 8AM-11AM, a vigil will be held in the parking lot around a burn barrel as a visual reminder of those less fortunate during this season of celebration. Local agencies, including Humility of Mary Shelter, accept clothing donations of cold weather gear, blankets, toiletries and other necessities at this time. These items will be given to area people experiencing homelessness. The service is sponsored by the Quad City Shelter & Transitional Housing Council.

Those experiencing homelessness are three to four times more likely to die than the general public. This month in Nashville TN, the homeless death rate topped the city’s homicide rate. Many died of illness exacerbated by a life on the street. On any given night in the Quad Cities, there are 400 people experiencing homelessness.

At this time of year, many people ask, “How can I help?” Your presence at the service will let those experiencing homelessness know they are not forgotten.

The Holidays Gift Project at Humility of Mary Shelter


holiday gift project

NOVEMBER 30 UPDATE:  Thanks to generous support, we have pledges for Holidays Gift Project donors for each of our participants. Additional donations of these items are still welcome as we need them throughout the year. So, there’s plenty of need, but–thanks to community generosity–our urgent holiday need is met.



Each year we provide a Holiday Gift to 83 participants who live at Humility of Mary Shelter, as well as to 32 participants who live in their own apartments in our Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Many of our participants spend the holiday season alone. Our staff work to build a relationship with each person, based on kindness and trust. With your generosity we can provide gifts as a symbol of our support and caring through this holidays gift project!

If you’re able to help–with one gift, or with many–contact Christie Adamson, Director of Services, at 563.322.8065 or email with your contact information.

A Shelter Gift Package includes the following:

Book bag,  Bath Towel, 3 pair of socks, Comb/Brush, Chapstick, Travel Mug OR Water Bottle, Notebook and Pen, Pocket Planner

A Permanent Housing Gift Package includes the following:

Laundry Basket, Mop, Broom, All Purpose Cleaner, Pocket Planner, Bath Towel, Wash Cloth, Pillow, Toilet Paper

Place the items inside the book bag or laundry basket.

We ask that you not place any particular religious note inside the gift as we help people with varying beliefs. Feel free to write a note of encouragement. As a fellow comunity member, you can provide assistance to help our most at-risk members find a place to belong, to renew their enthusiasm, overcome obstacles on their journey and find comfort in the holiday season.

All gifts need to be delivered to Shelter on or before Friday, December 18.

Contact us if you have any questions or if you want to learn more about the people we’re assisting through our programs. Thank you for all the good things you’ve made possible for people experiencing homelessness in our community.

Buy a Bed at the Shelter: An Infographic

buy a bed

The “Buy a Bed” concept makes good sense. Your $10 contribution helps others while improving the quality of live in our Quad Cities communities. Donate now, using the PayPal button on the top of this page. Or, participate in the 2015 SleepOut on October 17 and join with other committed people in our area. We exist…because our community cares!