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Marian House was founded in 1982 as a joint project of the Sisters of Mercy and the School Sisters of Notre Dame in response to the dire circumstances that befell women at the Baltimore City Women's Detention Center. Two sisters and a lay volunteer noticed that it was difficult, if not impossible, for many of the women being released from jail to rebuild their lives as housing, employment and support were hard to come by. Thus, they came together and founded Marian House to fill these voids and reduce recidivism rates.
Since its founding, Marian House has become known as a leading organization providing high quality rehabilitative services to women coming out of the prison system. Over the past 29 years, Marian House has served over 1,000 women and has continuously modified its program to achieve strong, lasting results.
Over the years the Marian House Transitional Housing Program has grown from accommodating 14 women to now being able to serve 55 women at any given time. This expansion includes four 3-bedroom family apartments located in our expanded headquarters building on Gorsuch Avenue in northeast Baltimore City. Marian House also owns several town homes in the Better Waverly neighborhood that are used for Transitional Housing, and we operate an additional group facility in a former convent building in the nearby Pen Lucy neighborhood.
In April 2004, Marian House introduced a new Permanent Supportive Housing Program for formerly homeless women and families. In the Scattered Sites program, women and often families are assisted with finding suitable housing with the help of Marian House staff, and in these situations Marian House enters into a rental agreement with the landlord of an apartment or home in Baltimore City. With the assistance of rental subsidies, women and families are able to live independently despite the rise in rental costs in Baltimore.
Marian House currently leases private apartments and rents these units to women who have successfully completed Marian House's Transitional Program. Tenant households pay no more than 30% of their income in monthly rent. Marian House utilizes a rental assistance grant from the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (Shelter Plus Care Program) to cover the difference between what tenants can afford to pay and the market rental rate. Women in our Permanent Supportive Housing Program continue to receive on-going case management and support services from Marian House staff.
In October 2007, Marian House opened “Serenity Place”, an apartment building for low-income individuals and families across the street from our headquarters on Gorsuch Avenue. The site was formerly St. Bernard’s Catholic Elementary School. The renovation of the property was a joint effort between Homes for America, Inc. and Marian House. Serenity Place offers affordable permanent housing to Marian House residents and other low-income women who are not financially able to enter the general housing market. The facility consists of 14 one-bedroom and 5 two-bedroom apartment units.
In October 2009, Marian House purchased and renovated another home next-door to our headquarters that has allowed us to expand to serving 5 additional women.
Marian House Executive Directors
- Katie Allston, LCSW-C: September 2007 - present
- Sr. Loretta Rosendale, SSND: 2003 - 2006
- Sr. Augusta Reilly, RSM: 1987 - 2003
- Sr. Marilyn Graf, RSM: 1982 - 1986