By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — “We are excited to continue the tradition of helping people in our new location,” Ryan Bobst, strategic initiatives and grant manager for Humility Homes & Services, Inc. (HHSI), said June 26 during a community open house. The nonprofit agency held a ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier last week at the new facility, located in the former St. Mary Parish.
HHSI offers mission-focused housing, permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing, street outreach, veterans’ services and emergency shelter. It also offers a Fresh Start Center. Formerly located on Mississippi Avenue in Davenport, HHSI purchased the St. Mary property when the parish merged with St. Anthony Parish last year. The agency consists of numerous components:
• Fresh Start Center, in the former church building. Bobst said the 3,200-square foot space for the center is much smaller, but has a home-like feel now. HHSI participants select from free items in the former worship space; the public can shop for a low price. “This is where our clients come to make their house a home.” Sorting of items takes place in the former sanctuary space, storage space is also available. The Fresh Start Center offers clothing, furniture, houseware items, antiques and more. The public may shop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donors may bring items to the back door during open hours.
• The former rectory is home for eight permanent housing support units. Two people have already moved in and several others will soon, Bobst said. This is in addition to housing that HHSI offers off site. The jubilee housing units are studio or one-bedroom apartments.
• The former convent/parish office/classroom space now serves as the administrative office for HHSI. Original woodwork and pocket doors remain throughout. The building received fresh paint and some renovations. One Eighty, an organization that provides school-based ministries, jail outreach and a residential program, renovated the bathrooms. “This has been a great partnership with them,” Bobst said. One Eighty is located down the street at the former St. Joseph Parish campus.
• The former parish hall.is where the administrative team meets the last Wednesday of the month. “Eventually, this will be remodeled for a drop-in center. Showers will be added.” A food pantry and clothing center are located in the lower level.
At the open house, tables were set up on the first floor to promote social services and other organizations. Some of the groups featured in addition to HHSI: Family Resources, Salvation Army, Child Abuse Council and Iowa State University Extension. Chris Dunn, with HHSI’s street outreach team, provided music and singing during the open house. The building’s upper level provides space for meetings and storage.
Outside on Fillmore Street in front of the four buildings, the street was closed off for people to walk around the area. Volunteers greeted guests at a welcome tent and offered tours. Tickets were issued for a free lunch. A taco truck was parked out front. In the parking lot behind the jubilee center, representatives from the Davenport Police Department were present for community relations building. Children enjoyed playing in a bouncy house and food was available in tents where food vendors served BBQ, burgers and other choices.
Yolanda Jefferson, who volunteers five days a week at the HHSI shelter, owns two catering services – Blck Pearl Catering and Chefy Bear on Wheels. “This was my way to give back, by grilling up some burgers,” she said. “I am very happy being here.”
When someone is in a crisis, HHSI is there to help navigate through the needs to address that crisis, Bobst said. “We bring the agencies to them.”
For more information about HHSI or to volunteer, visit humilityhome.org or call (563) 326-1330.