House of Ruth – A Journey of Hope

Posted by Spalding Hurst

October 8, 2022

Sister Sharon Gray shares the following reflection following the news of the House of Ruth receiving a $6.5 Million grant from Louisville to build housing for men and women with HIV/AIDS.

“Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

Thus began the foundational commitment to forming the House of Ruth thirty years ago, and so it continues today.

As eight longtime friends gathered one Christmas, the decision was made to become connected with the HIV/AIDS community, particularly the women and children. As this community eventually welcomed us in as friends, we came to know more of their needs and more of their hopes. We searched for ways to be present to them in light of what they told us. It became clear that access to community-based services was needed. It also became evident that safe housing was needed for these women and their children.

Founded by eight long-time friends, four of whom were Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, House of Ruth incorporated on August 6, 1992. The founders are Sharan Benton; Anne Bindner (deceased); Liz Bindner (deceased); Elizabeth Blandford, SCN; Sharon Cook; Sharon Gray, SCN; Rebecca Miles, SCN; and Marilyn Spink, SCN (deceased).

Many of these types of needs were already provided for men in the community. The women and children were the hidden, unacknowledged ones. As the eight of us gathered, prayed, and searched for our next step, this journey began. The words “Do not ask me to abandon you or forsake you…your people shall be my people” became our mantra. So with little knowledge but much hope we learned more about establishing a 401c3 entity. We asked for help from friends. We suffered antagonism from some in the civic community. But, with one another and the support of others, especially the encouragement of the women of the HIV/AIDS community, House of Ruth became realized.

In our first year, House of Ruth served eight families. In 2020, House of Ruth served over 600 families, and the number grows. Some needs have changed with medical developments. However, a welcoming place, a safe place providing access to social services and especially housing, is still needed.

How grateful we are for the recent grant from the City of Louisville of 6.5 million dollars for housing for our current community. How grateful we are for our dedicated staff and volunteers who continue to sustain this “journey of hope.”

Sister Sharon Gray, SCN

House of Ruth, the only local organization committed to ending homelessness among people living with HIV and AIDS, is happy to announce it has been selected to receive a Permanent Supportive Housing grant through funding from the American Rescue Plan. Awarded by the City of Louisville, the grant of $6,517,259 will be used to build 40 units of permanent supportive housing for House of Ruth clients and their families. It is the largest single grant received in the organization’s 30-year history.

“We are beyond excited and grateful to be selected for this grant,” said Lisa Sutton, Executive Director of House of Ruth. “We have been planning to build new units for years so to finally secure the funds to make it happen is such a wonderful development. As our clients are aging, there’s an increased demand for housing. This grant will go a long way to meet that demand.”

14 Comments

  1. Rita Davis, SCN

    Someone once said, “If you can imagine it, it will happen.” You founders of “House of Ruth” did it. Thanks so much for establishing a loving service which is a literal ‘God send’ for soooo many families.

    Reply
  2. Pat Bartolo SCN

    In the words of Dorothy Day, “we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. ” By founding the House of Ruth 30 years ago, you and and you staff of volunteers have set change in motion. Now with this worthy grant the House of Ruth can provide needed shelter for the houseless women and children affected by HIV/AIDS. You have proven that “nothing is impossible with God” and the American Rescue Plan for Louisville.

    Reply
  3. Angie Shaughnessy

    So very proud of all and blessed to be sister to these wonderful women .
    Congratulations!!!

    Reply
  4. Donna Schmidt

    I couldn’t be more proud of those 8 wonderful women and of their accomplishments. May our loving God continue to bless them and watch over all those in need at the House of Ruth! God is good!

    Reply
    • Blanche Correia

      Congratulations dear sisters

      Reply
  5. Beena Chirackal SCN

    Vow what an accomplishment, what a marvelous job you eight women started off. Congratulations to each of you.
    Beena Chirackal

    Reply
    • Brenda Gonzales

      What a wonderful gift to the families you/we have supported over these 30 years. Many thanks for your vision and hard work!

      Reply
  6. Anne Beavan, SCNA

    How thrilling that the House of Ruth has been awarded this very significant grant from the City of Louisville by way of the American Rescue Plan. Truly a worthy cause, and I wish you all the best in bring this facility into reality! Congratulations on your work for women and children experiencing such a great need.

    Reply
  7. Charlotte Hazas, SCNA

    We give thanks for these eight women of pioneering spirit who said “Yes” thirty years ago. They inspired others to join them, and their vision is alive today. What a blessing this supportive housing will be.

    Reply
  8. Rosemarie Kirwan

    This is indeed wonderful news especially since we are hearing more and more that affordable housing is such a dire need at this time. Congratulations to all involved.

    Reply
  9. Luke

    Such wonderful news! I am so very proud of my sisters!!!
    Visionaries energize and create a space between reality and imagination of what can be.
    Thank you for being such visionaries!

    Reply
  10. Corrine Giel

    Wonderful news indeed!

    Reply
  11. Barbara Joseph Lammers

    Congratulations! House of Ruth has met so many needs, both known and unknown and now it will help with one of the biggest needs for so many.
    Your long-term dedication is a witness to all.
    Barbara Joseph

    Reply
  12. Anne O'Shea

    We are filled th gratitude on
    hearing this wonderful news!
    Thanks to all of you foundresses (and those that joined the mission) for being courageous women of compassion and vision💝
    Anne Marie and Ann

    Reply

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