St. Ambrose Reflects

May 8, 2015 by
These row homes on 23rd and 1/2 St were damaged by fires in the 1968 riots. St. Ambrose repaired and renovated them to revitalize the neighborhood.

These row homes on 23rd and 1/2 St were damaged by fires in the 1968 riots. St. Ambrose repaired and renovated this block to help revitalize our neighborhood.

The death of Freddie Gray while in the custody of Baltimore City Police stirred Baltimore as our neighbors took their frustration to the streets to call for justice. These events have forced the city to step back and reflect on issues of poverty, racism, violence and justice- issues that have defined Baltimore’s history.

Here at St. Ambrose, conversation in the halls of 321 E. 25th St has broadened from our usual discussion of the daily developments within our programs to the greater, overarching issues facing our city. We’ve shared the reactions and experiences from our own corners of the city, debated the triumphs and falls of the city school system and police department, exchanged editorials and volunteer opportunities over email, while always reaffirming our commitment to the work that we do.

Below are a few comments contributed from staff members across departments as we reflect on the city that we love and support:

Last week, feelings of empathy for the conditions that brought the rioters to violence fiercely competed with a distaste of the self-destructiveness of the violence and heartache for its negative effects on local businesses and the citizens who relied on them.  Sprinklings of hope were added to this stew of emotions as I read, watched, and heard stories of citizens from different backgrounds coming together to clean up, restore peace, and bring healing. With renewed confidence, but a nagging sense of uncertainty, I will wait and see if this groundswell of grassroots collaboration can bring about a broader confrontation with the social and economic problems that affect this city and others like it.

So many emotions were going through my mind and heart as I watched the anger erupt.  We love our city. My daughter and family have chosen to live here and my heart ached for them.  I also thought of all the people of our world who face this and worse every day.  My hope is that we will all face the fact that we have problems.  Awareness is the first step.  Acceptance is even harder, but I think denial is being cracked.  With prayer and confidence that the force for good is stronger than the force for evil, men and women of Baltimore will talk to one another without labeling and take a step at a time.  We all swim or we all sink….we are in this together.

I am happy the six police officers will stand trial for the death of Freddie Gray. I hope that our city can move forward to peaceful protests to get our point across without violence.

Defending the city of Baltimore to friends and family who live in other parts of the country has been one of the hardest parts, but it’s always been difficult to convince outsiders that Baltimore is a great place to live. City neighborhoods define and segregate Baltimore, and for too long the rest of the city has ignored and avoided the neighborhoods where the violence erupted. At the same time, I saw a lot of the peaceful protests over the last few weeks going on downtown, and I was so impressed by how many young people are very aware of the problems that face this city and that they want to be a part of the solution. This gives me hope for the future.

As the national media shifts their attention away from Baltimore and the city searches for justice and peace, St. Ambrose continues to do the same thing it set out to do in the wake of the 1968 riots- encourage and support strong and diverse neighborhoods. Our vigor for the work that we do and our commitment to support the city of Baltimore is resolute.

New Workshop Series focuses on Investing in the Future

April 24, 2015 by

Through support from MECU, the Foreclosure Prevention department recently initiated a brand new five-week financial education workshop series. The course was designed to be a financial coaching course where participants could learn how to make empowering financial decisions and invest in their future.

On the first night, participants were encouraged to make a short-term goal that they could accomplish by the end of the five week course. These goals spanned from finishing the course to saving more money, and from rebuilding credit to signing a contract on a house. All participants who finished the course felt that even if they didn’t achieve their goal during the five week period, they had made significant progress towards their goals and felt better equipped to make empowering financial decisions.photo 4

The lead financial counselor for the course, Denitra, commented that she really “admired that the participants were so focused.” One thing that she asserted after hosting her first five-week course was that learning how to make better financial decisions is a process, and all participants had unique moments and lessons that led them to a full realization about what could be inhibiting them from reaching their financial goals.

One lesson that seemed to be really influential outlined the impact of your credit score on your ability to get a good rate on a loan. Effective strategies to take control of your credit score and rebuild credit were also discussed. Participants also agreed that discussions about goal setting helped to form new financial habits.

But one of the most effective parts of this workshop setting was the community that participants built among each other. It wasn’t just the lessons that enabled attendees to gain ground towards their financial goals; it was the companionship and support network that participants formed with each other.

photo 2

10 Things to do if You are Facing Foreclosure

March 26, 2015 by
Based on MD DHCD 2014 4th quarter Foreclosure report

Based on MD DHCD 2014 4th quarter Foreclosure report

The St. Ambrose Legal Services department has compiled the following tips for what to do if you’re slipping towards foreclosure: 

  1. Ask for help as soon as you realize you are in financial trouble. The sooner you ask, the more likely you are to get the necessary support to resolve the problem.
  1. Stay in contact with your bank/lender so that they are aware of your situation. If you are upfront and transparent about your financial situation, your bank will better understand your needs and interests.
  1. Do not pay fees for services to assist you with your financial situation when the service is available for free. Thoroughly investigate anyone who is charging you for financial services and what they are doing for the fees.
  1. Take advantage of free services! The state and the banks will inform you of free counseling and legal services that are available to you.
  1. Do not take advice from friends, neighbors, or family, unless they are trained in financing.
  1. Open all of your mail, promptly. Don’t assume you already know what’s inside.
  1. There is no way to get out of the debt obligation. Don’t bother looking for a way out. Instead, determine if a loan modification is a viable option for you.
  1. Understand your responsibilities under the debt obligation. A deed of trust is the same thing as a mortgage. A deed is the document that transfers ownership of real estate.
  1. Know your rights and don’t sign any contracts unless you fully understand the document. You may be offered a ‘friendly foreclosure’ at mediation, but thoroughly research the implications of this sort of agreement before signing any contract.
  1. Do not think the problem will just go away. If you cannot afford your house, start considering what next steps you will take in order to find a new living space.

The threat of foreclosure can be intimidating, but being informed of your rights and responsibilities can make the process easier. Going through a foreclosure doesn’t mean losing everything. If you remain informed and proactive throughout the process you’ll be able to salvage the maximum amount of your investment. Find help, resolve the problem, and look ahead to life after foreclosure. Call St. Ambrose for free legal advice and foreclosure counseling: 410-366-8550 

Share a Home, Save for a Home

March 16, 2015 by

Our Homesharing department has been matching homeowners and home seekers for 27 years in the Baltimore area, but only recently have we been making a strong effort to encourage this affordable housing solution for single parents. We contacted Brandy, a homesharing mom who lives in Northeast Baltimore to tell us a little bit about her homesharing experience.parent child homesharing logo final

How old is your daughter?   4 years old

Length of time home sharing: 6 months

Length of time it took to find a match: less than a week

What have you gained from Homesharing? From this home sharing experience I have gained the opportunity to cut back on my living expenses so that I can financially prepare to purchase a home.

Do you see Home sharing as a long term or temporary housing solution?  I am utilizing the home sharing program because I have a desire to purchase a home within this year.

What is something you’ve learned from your Home Provider? What is something you respect about your Home Provider?    I respect the fact that my Home Provider was willing to open her home to my daughter & me. While being in a home were my Home Provider is a home owner I have been able to witness the importance of keeping and maintaining a home. I always knew that it was a lot of responsibility that went into being a home owner, but this experience has given me an opportunity to see firsthand.

What qualities do you think make a good roommate? A good roommate is one that is very understanding, a good communicator, clean, and friendly.

What do you like best about your house? When I was in the process of searching for a home provider I was very adamant about staying in the same community. I didn’t want to pull my daughter out of the community and environment she was familiar with. The neighborhood is in a central location and in a quiet community surrounded by homeowners.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? I am very grateful for this experience because it is truly a humbling experience. Home sharing is great for any individual that is trying to find some stability and it will only work if you are willing to communicate and be patient. I would recommend home sharing to others. All home sharing experiences may vary.

Complete this sentence: Home is…. Truly a place where you are comfortable and you can relax and feel safe. ‘Home is where the heart is…’

Do you know a single parent or a homeowner who would be willing to open up their heart or their home? Contact the Homesharing department at St. Ambrose 410-366-6180 or via email at homesharing@stambros.org

There’s no place like it.

March 2, 2015 by

St. Ambrose’s consortium of six unique programs can at times leave us all wondering, “What in the name of Baltimore, does St. Ambrose actually do?”  In our 47 year history our different programs have served 120,000 Maryland residents from different neighborhoods, backgrounds, and walks of life. So what binds St. Ambrose’s programs and all of our friends and supporters together?

Home. Home is a place, a state of mind, a goal, a basic need, a sense of well-being, a memory, a scent, a sanctuary.

As a student and lover of both Portuguese and Spanish, I have come to understand that all the best words and expressions are the ones that don’t translate. Home is one of those sweet, unparalleled, not exactly translatable words. The word home doesn’t just refer to a physical structure. Home associates a structure with comfort, safety, or family. It doesn’t matter if you rent an apartment, own your house, or are living in your parent’s basement. Home is yours; it’s something to call your own.

At. St. Ambrose we know that home is something worth fighting for, defending, and working towards. Home is something that unites us, and we’re committed to working together to make home a reality for all.

What does home mean to you? Let us know in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving from St. Ambrose Hous

November 27, 2014 by

Happy Thanksgiving from St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center! The offices are closed. We will see you Monday

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for all th

November 11, 2014 by

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for all that you do and did to keep us safe!

The Rehab Chronicles – 2800 Lake Ave

September 30, 2014 by

2800 Lake Ave is complete and on the market for sale!!

BEFORE

Pre

AFTER

Post

True move-in condition!

Features include:

3 Bedrooms

1 ½ New Baths

New Eat-In Kitchen with:

-> Stainless Steel Appliances

      (To be installed upon sale)

-> Granite Countertop

New HVAC & HWH

New Plumbing & Electric

New Windows & Ceiling Fans

New Roof & Storm Doors

Gleaming Hardwood Floors

Main Level Laundry

New Washer & Dryer

Fresh New Paint & Blinds Warranties

For more pictures and information on this property, click the link below:

http://listings.realbird.com/C7B8B8C2/362651.aspx

Mom and Daughter Team Pay It Forward

August 26, 2014 by

No one is happy to start school again; especially if you are a student being sent to school with little more than the clothes on your back. Lakia Diggs knows how it feels to be a student of parents struggling to make ends meet. She wanted to give back to those that may not be able to afford the long list of school supplies. Lakia and her daughter, Sa’Nyia Sherman, a smart and vibrant middle school student of Highlandtown Elementary/Middle School, decided to do something for those students. Sa’Nyia went online to look at the different list of supplies required for each grade. She then separated the bags according to their contents. Lakia raised funds by placing an event on her Facebook page. Shortly, the donations and supplies flooded her home.

When Lakia called around for places to receive the donation she only had one condition; to make sure that her backpacks got into the hands of students who need them. On Tuesday, August 19th Lakia and Sa’Nyia, stopped by St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Inc. to drop off 30 backpacks. She got to see the results of their labor. An excited five old choose a pink glittered backpack and began to rummage through it.

“Pencils! Pens! Crayons!” she exclaimed. “A notebook. My mom has a notebook like this.” She said with a smile. “And…I don’t know what this is.” She said as she held up a protractor and gave Sa’Nyia a hug. “Thank you Sa’Nyia.” She said as she sat back down to see the rest of her school supplies.

20140821_151859

The Rehab Chronicles – 2800 Lake Ave

August 13, 2014 by

2800 Lake Avenue looks GREAT!!! The oak flooring has been laid and the rest of the flooring throughout has been refinishedBoth bathrooms are finished and the kitchen cabinets are installed.  Check out how the new renovations are coming along!

To view more on the Rehab Chronicles click here.  To view more on the progress of 2800 Lake Ave click here.

Exterior

Exterior

First flr

First Floor

First flr2

First Floor

Second Flr

Second Floor

Second Flr2

Second Floor

Basement

Basement


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