By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. and Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. — two programs aimed at ensuring that every person in the Quad Cities has a place to call home — are merging. A new name and other specific details will be provided with the formal announcement of the merger by July 1.
“The merger will align our governance structure, policies and procedures and data systems,” Board Chair Sister Johanna Rickl, CHM, and Executive Director Emily Harvey said in a May 2 letter to supporters and friends. “We will continue our responsible stewardship of donations of time and merchandise and continue to strengthen and expand our community partnerships.”
Both nonprofit housing programs were founded by the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in response to unmet needs in the Quad Cities. Humility of Mary Housing, Inc. (HMHI) was established in 1990 and Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc. (HMSI) in 2008. Each program is separately incorporated.
The Humility Sisters “will continue to enlighten our work with their call for us to be a community, ‘working within the human family and caring for earth itself,’” wrote Sr. Rickl and Harvey. “Based on that calling, our Housing First philosophy is grounded in the ‘radical acceptance’ of the inherent worth of every person. Our vision for community will be fulfilled when every person in the Quad Cities has a place to call home.”
They noted that the world has changed in the nearly 30 years since HMHI was formed. “The way we work and build relationships must also change.” Leaders of the merged housing program look forward to continued partnership with others to end chronic homelessness in the Quad Cities.
The Sisters of Humility founded HMHI in response to the unmet need of affordable housing in the Quad-City area, a challenge which continues today. HMHI, which became a separate corporation in 1990, now offers housing for 44 families and children in scattered locations in Davenport. The HMHI main office at 3805 Mississippi Ave. in Davenport is also the home of Fresh Start Donation Center — a repository and distribution center of furniture and household items for participating families. Donations to the center can be made daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. HMHI provides parents and their children housing stability so that they can pursue opportunities for growth and development.
Ten years ago, in response to the closing of a local emergency homeless shelter, the Sisters of Humility reopened the shelter as Humility of Mary Shelter, Inc., 1016 W. 5th St., Davenport. They did so after in-depth dialogue, community input and planning. HMSI provides emergency shelter for up to 70 men and women 24 hours a day, year-round. HMSI also offers 48 single adults’ supportive housing in apartments in Davenport. HMSI just opened the Corner Closet, a satellite of the Fresh Start Donation Center, located at the corner of 6th and Vine streets. The Corner Closet offers household items to persons in the supportive housing program.