Last week we discussed how community engagement makes a good growth strategy. This week, let us spotlight the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, which is giving homeless families a “pause” in life with free, temporary housing and the means to re-establish their independence.
The DDHH in Memphis opened in 2006, inspired by the efforts of Dorothy Day, who in the 1930s founded the Catholic Worker Movement as a volunteer-based organization that served the poor and homeless and opened houses of hospitality to offer support. Our model is an updated approach to dealing with the needs and realities of homeless families in our community.
Centrally located at 1429 Poplar Ave, the DDHH is a beautiful old house. It is walking distance from grocery stores and schools and has no signage out front. The House provides families with basic necessities and safe shelter. And, with assistance from volunteers, the ministry team helps these families identify causes of their homelessness, mentors them, and sets achievable goals to move toward self-sufficiency.
Sister Maureen and her DDHH team have a number of success stories, like helping a young mother graduate college and now live on her own, employed and finishing her MA. By providing this free “pause” in life and a chance to save money with shelter and a support network in place, they afford families an opportunity to get back on their feet again.
Because they are funded solely through donations from individuals and charitable organizations and comprised of volunteers, they are able to keep overhead costs low and treat each family as a unique entity. They are also able to keep the entire family together, which is uncommon with other agencies. There are many ways you can help the DDHH’s efforts.
They are always in need of home items, like paper towels, light bulbs, laundry supplies, liquid hand soap, detergent, etc. They also need help with general upkeep, like lawn maintenance. You may volunteer your services to help families through mentoring or serve a dinner.
Learn more by visitingdorothydaymemphis.org or calling Sister Maureen at 901-726-6760.
Jeremy C. Park is president of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club. He is host of “The Spark” on WKNO-TV Channel 10 on the third Thursday of each month at 9 p.m. and the “Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club” on KWAM-AM 990 on Saturday at 1 p.m.