An empty convent near St. Vincent Charity Medical Center found new life serving homeless men with acute medical issues who need ongoing care.
The 11-bed Joseph’s Home helps these men, many of whom are in need of or recovering from surgery, going through cancer treatments or stabilizing chronic conditions like diabetes or pulmonary disease. It is the only homeless service provider in Northeast Ohio exclusively focused on medical respite care. The men, who are ready to be discharged from the hospital but are too frail to recover on the street or in a shelter, stabilize in a faith-based environment with 24/7 staffing while developing individual housing plans and connections to behavioral supports.
A ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, Joseph’s Home opened in 2000. One of the sisters who worked as a social worker at St. Vincent’s noticed that often men who were being discharged from the hospital had nowhere to go to continue their recovery. Some were struggling with addiction and mental health issues. The home fills a service gap between the hospital and a shelter.
When Joseph’s Home opened, the first resident was a Vietnam veteran. Since then, the facility regularly serves veterans in need.
Sister Joan Gallagher, CSA was the first director of Joseph’s Home.
“It’s a home and the residents are expected to help out with chores,” she said.
When a resident moves in, he receives a key to his own room. Residents share meals and have access to common areas such as the dining area, a lounge with a television and books. There also is a music room, fitness area and computers.
Christine Horne, Joseph’s Home executive director, said the staff works to help residents “put the pieces together. That’s our goal.”
She said the average stay is about two or three months and when a resident finds housing, the milestone is celebrated. The staff helps residents to address the reason they became homeless as well as underlying issues like mental health and addiction.
“We have a robust alumni program,” Sister Joan said, with many alumni volunteering to help current Joseph’s Home residents. Alumni also are represented on the Joseph’s Home board of directors and some have been hired as staff members.
Sister Joan and Horne said peer support is an important piece in the success and recovery of residents, so the support of alumni is welcomed.
Funding for Joseph’s Home comes from the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services levy, a grant to serve veterans, foundations and other donors.
Perseverance in Hope, a major fundraiser for the facility will take place on June 19 at Windows on the River, 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland. The benefit luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. with a silent auction. The lunch and program, which features Bishop Nelson Perez as the keynote speaker, will be noon to 1:30 p.m. Dan Moulthroup, CEO of The City Club of Cleveland, will be emcee.
Tickets are $50 for general admission; $100 for patrons and sponsorships begin at $500.
For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit josephshome.com/events/luncheon, or call 216-987-9201.