Faith House - Frederick Rescue Mission
To better acquaint our members and the greater community with our grantees, we are highlighting some of the nonprofit organizations that have received WGC grant funds. This quarter, we reached out to Ashley Garland, Director at the Faith House program of the Frederick Rescue Mission.
Please introduce yourself. What is your role at your organization and how long have you been with the organization?
I am Ashley Garland, Director of Faith House. I have been with the Frederick Rescue Mission since April 2023, although I volunteered for many years prior.
What is the mission of the organization, and what personally moves you about that mission? The Mission seeks to change lives now and for eternity by rescuing people from hunger, poverty, and chemical addiction. Faith House is one of the Mission’s programs – a program that specifically serves women and children experiencing homelessness to bring them healing and hope through Christ.
As someone who has personally experienced trauma, I have a unique insight into some of what our guest residents are experiencing when they come to us. It is amazing to be part of a faith-based, employment-focused program that gives women a space to heal from their trauma, a place to equip themselves to secure employment, and room to grow into resilient individuals, setting themselves up for a brighter future.
What are the most significant challenges that the organization is facing right now? What are the most significant challenges faced by the clients/populations that you serve? The most significant challenge we currently face is keeping up with the growing number of applications. With colder weather approaching, our list of applicants is increasing significantly. Unlike other similar programs, women are not accepted into Faith House on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis; they are accepted based first on the level of their need, and then on a space-available basis. For example, a woman sleeping outside will take priority over a woman sleeping on a friend’s couch. And, if a room for a mother and her children opens before a bed becomes available for a single woman, the family will move in first.
These staggering numbers underscore the need:
Applicants approved and on the wait list = 131! Applicants in the process of being vetted are a whopping 292 women.
The most significant challenge faced by our guest residents is their ability to break the cycles of abuse, addiction, and trauma leading to their current state of homelessness. Many of our residents are learning to balance life for the first time. They are trying to hold a job, raise their children, and focus on their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
What is the nature of the Giving Circle grant that you received in our last grant cycle, and what impact will it have on women and their dependents in Frederick?
A unique feature of the Faith House program is the wrap-around support the residents receive. Our small team works with each resident individually, tailoring our guidance to what she needs at that time. The grant we received supports our Program Specialist position (currently held by Edie). This team member provides oversight and accountability to the residents through weekly and bi-weekly therapeutic conversations. During her time with the women, Edie provides recovery and inner healing support and works on building the women’s resiliency skills. Edie also works with the team to create parenting and life skills classes onsite for the residents. This support and skill improvement provides resources the women can build on as they continue strengthening their recovery and mental health journey.
Do you have any specific stories that you can share with us that illustrate what you are doing in the community?
Faith House opened in December 2016. Since then, your support of the Mission has allowed more than 160 women and 80 children to benefit from Faith House!
Evelyn was one of those women: "My ex-husband tried to kill me in front of my children. I forgave him and gave him another chance. He came back, and he threatened me again. He said, 'Next time, I'll make sure you die.' And this time, I believed him. And I asked for help."
Last fall, Evelyn and her two children moved into Faith House after being referred by Heartly House*. They were frightened and traumatized.
Each woman who comes to Faith House works with a case manager who helps resolve the underlying issues that are the cause of her homelessness. The women often feel lost, broken, and hopeless. Your support provides them with life skills, job-readiness education, parenting classes, recovery support, nightly devotions, and resources to make valuable community connections.
Evelyn's case manager helped her find a job and a therapist and taught her to trust God through prayer. "That devotional time, that hour every day, really helped me. Being at Faith House was a beautiful experience that brought me closer to the Lord and helped me so much."
Today, Evelyn and her son and daughter are building a new life together, and all are thriving in all the beautiful “newness” of it all – apartment, new job for Mom, new school for the kids and new friendships.
You have made an enormous difference in the lives of many women in Frederick, some of whom have escaped domestic violence like Evelyn. Fighting back tears, Evelyn exclaimed, "We CAN get out of domestic violence situations. I wish I could tell any woman out there: You don't have to live like that. You can be happy!"
*A Frederick nonprofit that serves those who have been impacted by domestic violence. www.heartlyhouse.org
Is there anything further that members of the Giving Circle can do to help, in terms of volunteering, in-kind donations, etc?
We are always looking for volunteers to join our Faith House family. We have four specific volunteer positions: 1) Faith House program assistant, Faith House devotion leader, Faith House childcare, and cleaning the Faith House apartments to prepare for new residents. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Melissa Herman for additional details and opportunities (MHerman@therescuemission.org).
With the number of residents continuing to increase, basic household supplies like cleaning products, paper products, laundry detergent, and trash bags, are always helpful.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We are so grateful to consider you a friend of Faith House! Faith House exists because of community partnerships. We could not do what we do without the love and support of our community. Numerous organizations partner with us to serve our residents: YMCA, Women to Women Mentoring, Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley, United Way of Frederick County, Justice Jobs, and Advocates for Homeless Families.
Maggie's Story is equally inspiring