Founder and Executive Director, House of Mercy
Years in current role: 36
What was your biggest success in 2021?
My biggest success in 2021 was getting a developer to agree to renovate a building for us so that we can create more housing for our homeless guests.
What are your expectations for 2022?
I expect to find more opportunities for housing for the homeless in Rochester; hopefully independent housing such as hotel rooms, apartments, etc.
What is your biggest takeaway from dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
I have worked closely with people who had COVID and were very fearful it, and we encouraged them to get their vaccines. I saw how intimidated people were about the vaccine at first, and then I saw how relieved and grateful they were for their safety once they got the vaccine. My biggest takeaway when working with my homeless guests is that the vaccine certainly saves lives, and it is very important that people get vaccinated.
What is your favorite thing about the Rochester community?
My favorite thing about the Rochester community is its generosity. Between financial donations to keep our shelter running, and essential items (like winter clothing, etc.) we have been very blessed by the generosity in our community. This is especially apparent in the wintertime, when these kinds of donations are in high demand, and we don’t have the ability to purchase enough supplies ourselves. House of Mercy would not be in existence if we did not have a generous community of donors to help us survive.
If time were no issue, what would you do to help the community that you aren’t already doing?
I would probably have several quality housing developments made for the homeless people in our city. These would be independent living facilities, so that our people would not have to live in cramped or shared quarters, or worse, outside. Our homeless guests need to have the option of safe and warm shelter without any restrictions, especially during these dangerously cold winter months.