ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION

NEWS FOR November 14, 2014

 

November 14, 2014

 

Dear Friends,

 

Sister Mary Teresita Richards, a fellow Sister of Notre Dame, and I just visited two emergency shelters.  Located just blocks from one another in Austin, TX, are Casa Marianella and Posada Esperanza.  These homes are run by the same board of directors.  We were honored to meet the director, Jenny Baldwin, and two other board members.

 

Volunteers keep the houses running.  Many are college graduates serving a year of service with Americorps or the Jesuit Volunteer Corp.  Eight of these volunteers visited us last week at the South Texas Human Rights Center to help with water stations.  We reciprocated by visiting them.  It is AMAZING how responsible, self-sacrificing and welcoming these young people are!

Sr. Teresita and Brooke (JVC) at Posada Esperanza

Each location is really a series of houses obtained over time.  Posada Esperanza consists of three houses in a cul-de-sac in a low income neighborhood.  Here homeless immigrant mothers and their children are housed and offered such services as English classes, case management, youth education classes and needed items. There are 11 bedrooms among the 3 houses, and with each family in one room there is room for 11 families.  The goal is self-sufficiency.

One of the houses of Posada Esperanza
At Posada Esperanza we met a woman from Congo and her baby daughter.  I told her that I would have guessed that English was her first language instead of one that she is learning.  A woman from Ethiopia and her daughter live at Posada Esperanza while the husband/father lives at Casa Marienella which houses adults.
The strings trace the journeys of residents at Casa Marianella

There were at least four houses sitting side by side and across the street from one another at Casa Marienella.  Here one room in each house is dedicated to a particular service such as food, computer help, classrooms or legal services. There is bed space for 37 adults at Casa Marienella.  Currently, there are 47 being housed.  This means that 10 are sleeping on the floor.  This dwelling also cares from those with medical disabilities.  Both places are alternatives to detention while persons are in the legal process.

 

One of the houses of Casa Marienella.  Bikes from the Yellow Bike Program are available for the residents.

 

The first house of Casa Marienella was established in 1986, while the first house of Posada Esperanza was founded in 2003.  Both are new ministries begun by regular people with a will to make a difference to those in great need today. The ministries are sustained and grow by God's goodness and provident care.  

 

The hope of those staying in both places was tangible and is expressed in multiple, large and colorful paintings produced by former residents hanging on the outside fence of Casa Marianella.  Two examples are below.

 

 

 

  

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Sr. Pam

 

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Brooke, Eliza, Becky, Josselin, Dounia, Keiler, Jenny and Samone visit STHRC from Posada Esperanza and Casa Marianella in Austin, TX.
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