In Spring 2015, a team of Johns Hopkins University students became enthusiastic consultants on resource development and PR opportunities for Main Street Housing through JHU’s Students Consulting for Non-Profit Organizations chapter. Thomas Bernstein (’16, Biomedical Engineering), Apricot Tang (’17, International Studies), Alessandra Golden (’18, Cognitive Science & English), Tariro Makoni (’18, Public Health & International Studies) and Samuel Jackson (’18, International Studies & Economics) first met with MSH staff to learn about the organization’s mission, value proposition and goals for improving public awareness and support. Throughout their semester, the team brainstormed, researched and presented options for a fundraising event and more dynamic outreach materials to enhance MSH’s current resource development and marketing activities.
While many team members had previous experience volunteering with non-profit organizations or studying public health strategies, learning about the “Main Street Model” brought these young adults living in Baltimore City a new level of insight about the critical role that housing plays in both personal and community wellness.
“The project was extremely unique,” explained Apricot Tang. “Understanding the communal demand for public sector organizations like Main Street Housing forced me to acknowledge the fact that sometimes, as a community, we simply aren't doing enough. I was so glad to be able to partake in [this] project.”
The team’s recommendations helped strengthen and invigorate MSH’s planning for upcoming events and enhanced outreach materials. “My experience working with MSH was extremely rewarding,” said Sam Jackson. “I was able to make an impact as well as learn the ins and outs of how MSH serves society.”
Tom Bernstein, team lead, agreed. “I really enjoyed working with Main Street Housing because it was not only an opportunity for me to gain consulting and leadership experience but also a chance to work with an organization that is making a real impact both in our local Baltimore community and also within the state of Maryland.”
The George B. Todd Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation has awarded a generous grant to Main Street Housing in support of our property maintenance and upgrade activities in Dorchester County!
MSH has operated 5 units of quality, affordable rental housing in Dorchester Co. since 2007. This grant funding will be used to replace aging home appliances in some units with new, ENERGY STAR certified machines and to purchase tools that expand MSH Maintenance Workers' capacity to respond to emergent maintenance issues.
We are tremendously grateful to the Advisors of the George B. Todd Fund for selecting Main Street Housing as a grant recipient this year and to everyone who supports the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Thank you!
Main Street Housing’s third annual SPAGANZA! Pasta Dinner & Benefit Event was another very successful and fun evening in celebration of our quality, affordable housing for individuals and families with psychiatric disabilities across the Mid-Shore region.
Laughter and conversation bubbled up from tables across the room as old friends enjoyed catching up and new faces were welcomed as neighbors on ‘Main Street.’ Soon, a dedicated crew of volunteers served dinner to the room as MSH Board of Directors President Diane McComb and Executive Director Ken Wireman thanked everyone for their support during a very busy and productive year.
MSH began offering quality, affordable housing on the Eastern Shore in 2007. Since then, we have successfully completed two housing development initiatives focused in Talbot Co, with the last three months of 2014 bringing three new beautiful Main Street properties in Easton. MSH Regional Property Manager Gloria Bowen and Maintenance Worker Jamie Middleton worked quickly to get these units online so new Tenants could start moving in during the first months of 2015.
“Our ‘Main Street Model’ - with rigorous property selection criteria and 'Supportive Accountability' measures - sets a progressive standard for quality, affordable, independent housing in the community for individuals and families with psychiatric disabilities,” explained McComb. “We had a wonderful turnout for this year’s event benefitting our Eastern Shore properties, and I’d like to thank the donors to the Silent Auction and Local Business Sponsors who generously supported us.”
MSH also extends our grazie de cuore (thanks from the heart) to our Individual Sponsors:
.... and to all our Silent Auction Donors:
If you’re out and about on the Eastern Shore this summer, please consider stopping by and sharing your thanks for their recognition and support for quality, affordable housing that ‘makes all the difference’ for individuals and families with psychiatric disabilities.
MSH received two Community Response Grants from United Way of Central Maryland to assist with emergency repairs at two of our properties, one located in Howard Co. and the other in Anne Arundel Co. Both projects were completed quickly thanks to this assistance.
We thank all of the United Way donors whose generous contributions create these wonderful opportunities for assistance with urgent needs! Click here to learn how to designate part of your United Way contribution to Main Street Housing.
"When I come home feeling tired and beat... on the roof it's peaceful as can be..." Up On the Roof, The Drifters
Home is so much more than just having a roof over your head... but that roof is still very important! MSH was thrilled to receive a grant from the United Way of Frederick County in support of the roof replacement project at our Frederick property.
Joshua Pedersen, CEO of United Way of Frederick County, explained, "it is important for United Way of Frederick County to help those who are most vulnerable in our society, which is why we recognized the importance of supporting the work Main Street Housing does with individuals and families. With the completion of the project, residents of this building will be safe from the elements for years to come." The project was completed in January 2015 - just in time given these late winter snowstorms!
2014 brought significant growth for Main Street Housing! We developed a total of 5 new properties this year, adding 2 units in Baltimore City in our Western Region and 3 units in Easton in our Eastern Region. All together these created 10 new Tenant Slots! Each of our units provides housing for either 2 single adult Co-Tenants or 1 family, and we have been able to rapidly fill these new openings as the properties come online after initial minor renovations are complete.
We could not have accomplished this expansion without the dedicated efforts of our staff on both sides of the Bay or without your support! Thank you for making 2014 a banner year!
"Poverty + Stigma ≠ Housing is a simple way to describe a complex problem that has significant and lasting impact on the lives of individuals remaining housed in RRP due to the lack of available affordable housing options in the community."
Check out our recent article about the challenges and opportunities that people moving out from a Residential Rehabilitation Program face when looking for quality, affordable, independent housing in their community.
It was a bright and sunny Saturday morning on September 27th when six smiling volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ellicott City arrived at a MSH property in Howard County. MSH was fortunate enough to again receive hours of volunteer service by St. John’s parishioners as part of Service Over Self, an event of the church’s Outreach commission to encourage community involvement.
The Gawthrop and Geist Families wasted no time in getting their hands dirty in the name of property improvement! In a few short hours, they spruced up the building inside and out – weeding and mulching, power-washing concrete, staining landscape timbers and washing windows. By noon, the property was looking spiffy and ready to welcome home a new Tenant on Monday.
MSH is proud to provide quality housing in desirable communities, and we are so grateful to have help from our friends to keep our homes beautiful. Many, many thanks to St. John’s Episcopal Church and to their members, the Geist and Gawthrop families, for spending their Saturday on Main Street!
For more information about St. John’s Episcopal Church, visit www.stjohnsec.org.
Summer in the City! Baltimore City Housing Initiative Progress
We're absolutely thrilled to share these exciting updates for our Baltimore City Housing Initiative!
Oh My Lands! Eastern Region Landscaping Projects
MSH was able to complete some major landscaping improvement projects at our properties across Queen Anne's, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester Counties this summer thanks to a generous grant for lawn and gardening tools from the George B. Todd Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Our new power washer, hedge trimmer, wood chipper and other tools have made it easy for Jamie, MSH Eastern Region Maintenance Worker, to blast through projects that would have required hiring a contractor in the past. Our Tenants take pride in maintaining their homes in the community, and these tools make it possible for us to make landscaping improvements that preserve and improve the beauty of our properties - this summer and for many years to come!
Three New Partners for FY 15
In case you missed the updates on Facebook, MSH is honored to have gained three new partners for FY 15. The United Way of Central Maryland, The Herbert Bearman Foundation, and the Jacob Lowenthal Residue (a PNC Charitable Trust) have generously awarded grant funding to support our efforts to develop quality, affordable housing in Baltimore City.