Peace House

by Sheri Wander and Lauren Tatarsky

The Catholic Worker Movement began in May 1933 when a journalist named Dorothy Day and a philosopher teamed up to publish and distribute a radical newspaper called “The Catholic Worker.” Grounded in the belief in the dignity of every person their movement committed itself to nonviolence, voluntary poverty and the works of Mercy as a way of life. Soon Catholic Workers began opening “houses of hospitality”  where those living on the margins would always be welcome.

The movement has protested  injustice, war, and violence in all forms. Today there are over 228 Catholic Worker communities in the US and in countries around the world, one of them right here in Ypsi.

“I call it the love house because of the love you feel there.”

Mo

Peace House Ypsi is a house of hospitality in the tradition of the Catholic Worker movement.  Working in partnership with Mercy House (our sister house of hospitality in Ann Arbor ) we are a community providing hospitality to those on the margins and building the world we envision by living it. A world where, in the words of Peter Maurin “it is easier to be good.”   

Peace House Ypsi strives to incorporate core values of Peace, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Service and Love into all that we do. We seek to be a home that works with the wider community in which we find ourselves to meet the needs of that community and support each other in doing good work in the world. Our Mission is simply to love, and to love radically. Living in community and loving radically we heal ourselves  and the world. 

Mo, a frequent guest says, “The love and warmth I feel and receive from the community at Peace House makes it my home away from home.  I call it the love house because of the love you feel there.” 

What we do…

We provide short term overnight respite to those experiencing homelessness. Guests can stay for from 1 night – 5 days. 

We provide live in  hospitality for up to 3 months to bridge guests to a better situation; that may be a bridge from sleeping outside to the purchase of a tent or vehicle or a space for someone who has secured housing after homelessness and is waiting on the availability of the new home.

During Open hours (Drop in hours) guests can shower, do laundry, get a snack or a meal, and be in community. In creating the space for this we foster “peer mentoring” where those who have navigated the systems to access services can assist others in doing so. We provide resources and information in how to go about accessing services.

“Be a good neighbor” is an important house expectation to that end we have a “little free library” and are working on a community garden and a tool lending library open to both guests and neighbors 

We are working on a micro-loan program geared toward helping individuals gain the tools and resources to get back on their feet. Work boots and uniforms, the cost of taking the GED, car repairs, or a work uniform are a few of the examples of things that might be cost prohibitive for our friends and guests.  Creating ways to make these tools accessible can support folks in moving forward.

We provide support for those caught up in the criminal justice system and their families (birth and chosen) and friends

We organize and host educational and cultural events especially highlighting health and wellness as a way to build community among “homeless” and “homeful” folks. 

We create  opportunities for folks often on the receiving end to “give back” through community service projects, work days and volunteer opportunities. 

As Peace House, Ypsi approaches our second year we are looking to broaden our base of financial support — a community house that is community supported.  In particular we are looking for folks who want to be involved as sustainers by contributing monthly to expected on-going expenses, for example, utilities and food. Our friends at IOBY supported us in creating a crowdfunding website that directs all the money collected to Peace House. Please check it out and share widely!