St. Vincent de Paul’s Ozanam Manor, a transitional housing program for adults with disabilities and those ages 50 and older, is hosting an open house this Saturday.
This is a wonderful event for those who are interested in learning about housing and homeless issues. There are so many challenges and barriers that face homeless individuals on their journey to gain self-sufficiency. Visit the Ozanam Manor this Saturday, meet our residents, hear their stories and learn more about opportunities for you to help the homeless.
Ozanam Manor Open House
Saturday, September 18
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
1730 E. Monroe St
Refreshments will be provided. Call (602) 850-6900 to let us know you’re coming!
Five Questions with Mike Bell, Director of Ozanam Manor
1. What is the Ozanam Manor and what can people expect to see at the open house?
Ozanam Manor is temporary housing for homeless men and women seeking permanent housing who may have difficulty leaving homelessness on their own because they are disabled or older (age 50 and up). The facility consists of 49 beds in 6 dormitories, with attached kitchenettes, case management offices and small yards. Guests at our open house will be guided through the facility by Ozanam Manor residents, who will also tell guests a bit about themselves and what they are accomplishing.
2. What are some unique features of the Ozanam Manor?
I think the unique thing about Ozanam Manor is the community that residents find here. The size is moderate, avoiding both the trouble of too many people; with cliques forming and some individuals marginalized, and too few people; with too much isolation. Ozanam Manor has a variety of vital programs, including work credit, mentoring and events, like holiday meals and this open house, that give residents a chance to play key leadership and supportive roles for the group. The Ozanam Manor is fortunate to have highly-qualified people from the larger community who give their expertise and love to support our residents.
3. What is the most surprising for people when they get to know those who are homeless?
They are not unlike people we know or people we might have in our own families. We get a biased impression when the only homeless people we encounter are panhandlers. Ozanam Manor residents would not stand out in a shopping mall or any other public place. When you get to know homeless people, you find that “homeless by choice” generally does not apply. It is easier to understand why some people are homeless and what their hopes and dreams are when you hear from them in their own words. I continue to be surprised how moving it is when people get to know homeless individuals on a personal level.
4. What do you find is the most effective way to break the cycle of homelessness?
I agree with many experts on homelessness that more affordable housing is the main answer. However, from my own experience, personal relationships are very important. For each homeless person who finds his or her way to permanent housing, there are other people; homeless friends, a case manager, a volunteer mentor, a doctor, an employer, a minister, an apartment manager, who supported and guided them. Whatever large-scale policies are adopted to end the mass homelessness, the help we give as individuals will be crucial for the homeless people we encounter.
5. How can people help support Ozanam Manor?
The first thing people can do is simply to get to know some homeless people. I am just about as hesitant as anyone else to initiate a conversation with someone, who may be a little intimidating, on the street. But in the right setting it is quite safe and you won’t feel that you are offending or intimidating the homeless person, either. Ozanam Manor’s open house this Saturday will provide that opportunity. If you can’t make it then, but could come at another time, we could arrange a private tour. Calls us at 602 850-6900. The Ozanam Manor program, like the other St. Vincent de Paul ministries, also depends heavily on volunteers and donations. Donations can be supplies that will make people’s lives better, like bedding, personal hygiene items or kitchen supplies, or financial contributions. Any interest or support is very much appreciated.