joseph house of  cleveland

Our History

1997: The Beginning of Joseph House
Joseph House grew out of the "Church in the City" partnership between St. Philip Neri at E. 82nd & St. Clair, and Divine Word Catholic Church in Kirtland. In 1996, a committee from the two parishes came together with advisors to address the unmet needs in Cleveland for short term housing for refugees. The unused convent of St. Philip Neri was renovated into three apartments. Both parishes pledged financial and volunteer support. Other funds were received from public
donors, corporations, and foundation grants. Many hours of volunteer time, talent, and treasure later, the house opened in 1997! Numerous success stories and blessings were recorded.

2008: Changing Places-Changing Faces-Exchanging Graces
After St. Philip Neri celebrated its last Mass in May, 2008, and the St. Philip Neri Ministry Center remained on the property. Catholic Charities committed to keeping a stronger presence in this community, to provide much-needed services. Unfortunately, the building of Joseph House was taken down and the space used for the greater good of the Ministry Center.

The residents of Joseph House, including a family of 9 from Burundi, were relocated to rental properties from St. Vitus Parish at E. 61st St. & St. Clair. Providentially, this began a new relationship.

2011: Discernment, Growth, and a New Mission
After many months of discernment, the new Mission of Joseph House came to fruition in 2011. (There was a day of discernment at Divine Word Catholic Church in October, 2009.)

In keeping with the “Church in the City” initiative, the Mission of Joseph House enabled a partnership between Divine Word Parish in Kirtland and the Cleveland cluster parishes of St. Vitus, St. Paul Croatian, and Immaculate Conception. This partnership has truly been a blessing.

In August of 2011, “St. Philip Neri/Divine Word Church in the City Partnership, Inc.” was officially changed to “Joseph House of Cleveland, Inc.”

Joseph House began renting and renovating a storefront space at 6104 St. Clair, very close to St. Vitus. The storefront renovation was completed in August of 2011, and included an office space and conference room. In November of 2011, the clothing distribution program began.

2012-2013: Providing a Warm Welcome
In April of 2012, the first apartment renovation was finished. Volunteers immediately readied it for a single Sudanese mother with six children in an emergency situation. The family stayed a short time and moved out of state.

In June of 2012, the second upstairs apartment renovation was finished. In October, four Sudanese men moved in.

In November of 2012, the family of 9 from Burundi was relocated to a new apartment on 61st Street. The house they had previously been living in was to be sold, so they moved to a new location right down the road. The apartment was quickly finished up and readied for move in by very dedicated volunteers.

In July of 2013, the first apartment was rented to a single mother and five children from Congo.

The clothing distribution program began discernment in July, 2013, and has made much progress since then. In April of 2014, the storefront was reconfigured to hold more clothing. Catholic Charities Migration & Refugee Services began a relationship with the Joseph House Clothing Bank, making it possible to provide newly arriving refugees with clothing each week. Since April of 2014, over 1,400 refugees have come to shop at the clothing bank.

We also make weekly appointments for local neighbors in need to come in and "shop." Since August of 2014, thousands of appointments have been filled, providing much-needed clothing and shoes to our neighbors.

2015-2017: Looking Back, Moving Forward
We are grateful for the history of Joseph House and each of you that have participated! The Joseph House Board is extremely thankful to those that spent so much time, talent and treasure thus far in our Mission. We continue to be blessed.

2015 and 2016 brought big changes and improvements to the Joseph House property. During this time we updated two of our three apartments used for refugee housing, and completely renovated a fourth apartment. The progress that has been made-new doors and windows, new hot water tank and furnace, drywall repairs, fresh paint, new cabinets, new bathtub/shower unit, and more has given the property an updated look and has made it more functional for the families living here.

A brick garage (which was previously unusable) has been cleaned out and updated with electrical work, roofing repairs, and new doors, and now provides additional parking. We are thankful for more space to welcome another family, and grateful to all the volunteers and donors who made these projects possible.

2018: Clothing Bank Renovation
In 2017, Joseph House was given the opportunity to move our clothing bank to a new location, a former radio & television repair shop located two just doors to the east. Before the new location could hold clothing, major renovations were needed, and fundraising for the expansion project began in April, 2017 during the St. Vitus Palm Sunday Benefit Dinner. Over the coming months, donors all over Cleveland gave from their hearts to make this project come to life.

Between November, 2017 and May, 2018, the new location underwent a transformation, as over 400 old television sets were removed, demo work was completed, and skilled volunteers and tradesmen made the new space into a beautiful, welcoming room full of clothing and shoes. Renovation projects included: new ceiling tiles and LED lighting, new drywall, sanding and staining of original hardwood floors, new ductwork, new heating & cooling unit, new doors and security shutters, new restroom, and new carpet & tile work.

On May 12, 2018, volunteers from St. Edward High School, St. Vitus, Divine Word, Immaculate Conception, St. Paul Croatian, and Joseph House came together to move clothing, merchandise, racks, and furniture to the newly remodeled space. It was a day of joy, as our clothing bank transitioned from a space of 800 square feet to a space over double the size at 2,135 square feet, allowing us to serve more people, and offer shoppers a wider variety of items.

2022: Joseph House Celebrates 25 Years of Service
On May 22, 2022 a celebration was held to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the founding of Joseph House. 200 guests gathered at the new St. Vitus Parish Hall for a luncheon, including some of our current residents of the refugee apartments. We are grateful to God for the many blessings we have witnessed over these past 25 years, and for all those who have helped us along the way. We look forward to continuing our mission to welcome the stranger and help those in need.

For Clothing Bank Donations or Shopping Appointments, please call 216-431-7200