Miriam House promised $40k matching donation

Cary Ashby • Aug 30, 2019 at 12:00 PM

A woman whose grandfather has deep roots to Norwalk has promised a $40,000 matching donation to Miriam House.

The transitional housing program is under the umbrella of the Catholic Charities, which is well on its way to living up to its end. Executive director Rodney Schuster said he has received two commitments from previous Miriam House donors and long-time supporters for $5,000 each.

“I’ve only made two phone calls,” he added.

With a family-friendly golf outing Sunday at Eagle Creek Golf Course to support Miriam House netting $4,129, the program has raised more than $14,000 toward the matching donation. Nearly 45 people attended the event spearheaded by St. Paul High School students Nicole Martin and Nick Marksbury for their senior project.

Miriam House, which started in 2000, is a transitional housing program for women and mothers with children who otherwise would be homeless. It is open to the 19 counties covered by Catholic Charities, which includes Huron, Erie, Richland, Sandusky and Seneca counties.

Forty to 45 women and children enter Miriam House on average each year. If it closed, no other transitional shelters are available in the community to provide these services.

Julie (Fisher) Taylor’s donation was inspired by seeing some of the Norwalk Reflector’s “coverage on the Miriam House shortfall,” Schuster said. Taylor was unavailable for comment Thursday. 

“I said, ‘Julie, that would be great,’” Schuster said.

In March, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it wasn’t renewing funding for Miriam House for the 2019/2020 fiscal year. The $87,000 cut amounts to 37 percent of the annual budget.

In explaining the situation earlier, Schuster said when Miriam House applied, HUD officials determined the facility didn’t score “high enough” on a scale in various categories to continue funding it.

While Catholic Charities had “reserves we will commit to” Miriam House, the organization has been seeking additional funds. Schuster has said the Reflector’s coverage of the financial shortfall prompted representatives of U.S. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Fourth District) to see what could be done to help.

“Both the stories and editorial did a great job of capturing the impacts of the cuts to the services we provide to the women and children who come to us,” Schuster wrote in a thank-you note to managing editor Joe Centers.

“Because of your coverage, Congressman Jim Jordan’s office called and met with us to learn more and see if they could help. Thank you for being a voice to those in need.”

Recently, Schuster said he learned the Norwalk Area United Fund increased its Miriam House funding by 30 percent — from $15,000 to $20,000. He said the organization has been a long-time supporter of the program and helped get Miriam House on its feet nearly 20 years ago.

“They’ve been very supportive over the years,” added Schuster, who called the Norwalk Area United Fund “a great champion” for the Miriam House mission. “They are a great partner.”

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