Marian House Over the Years...

Marian House was founded in 1982 as a joint project of the Sisters of Mercy, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and lay women 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 incarceration to rebuild their lives as housing, employment, and support were scarce. 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 who suffer from complex histories of trauma, including mental health disorders, substance use disorders, physical and sexual abuse, those re-entering the community after incarceration, and other unstable life situations. Over the past 41 years, Marian House has served over 4,600 women and their children and has continuously modified its program to achieve strong, lasting results.

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. Since 2001, Marian House has served over 1,300 children. 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 women and families previously experiencing homelessness. This program approximately 88 women and families in buildings owned and managed by Marian House and in rented homes and apartments in the community. Residents of our permanent supportive housing program receive rental subsidies based on their income, and ongoing case management assistance.

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 December 2017, Marian House opened its doors to our largest capital expansion, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building at Independence Place, after raising the necessary funds through government and foundation supporters. The building, formerly the Blessed Sacrament School in Penn Lucy, is now a 22-unit apartment building providing permanent, supportive housing for women and children who were previously experiencing homelessness.

In February 2018, Marian House launched our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is a ten-week program for residents of Marian House and women within the community consisting of recovery education, relapse prevention, working the 12-steps of recovery, yoga, and art therapy. IOP participants receive at least nine hours of substance use treatment each week.

In June 2019, Phase II of the Independence Place campus renovation was completed. The former rectory, Mercy Residence at Independence Place, provides transitional housing consisting of 10 units and shared community spaces for women and children. The former convent, Notre Dame Residence at Independence Place, provides transitional housing consisting of 15 units and shared community spaces.

In June 2020, Marian House was gifted the Woman's Industrial Exchange building, located at 333 North Charles Street, by the similarly named non-profit organization. The building consists of 7 units, subsidized by Marian House itself, and 4 commercial spaces. by A partnership with the Maryland Women's Heritage Center has formed, and the center has adapted the storefront of this landmark building into an exhibit center and small event space.

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