On paper, Roberts Hall is a 24-room, Section 8 permanent housing complex with private bedrooms and shared common space and facilities. In spirit, Roberts Hall is so much more to so many women.
“I didn’t have any where else to go. I’d lost my home. I’d gone the shelter route and stayed my ninety days there. I had no plan B,” said Sheila, a three-year resident of Roberts Hall. “It saved me.”
Sheila will be moving out of Robert Hall soon and into her own place with plans to pursue substitute teaching to supplement her disability income. While Sheila has worked hard to get to this point, she attributes part of her success to Renée Bailey, Program Manager at Roberts Hall. “I was pretty much a wreck when I got here. I’d lost everything. I had maintained pretty well through my life, but I just got grounded here. Renée gets us a plan going, working as our case manager. She encouraged me to get my disability without a lawyer, and I’m so glad I did. I wasn’t aware of a lot of these resources.”
Renée has done it all at St. Vincent de Paul Louisville. She started as a receptionist on our main campus. After moving on to conference affairs, then case and program management for other programs, she landed in Germantown at Roberts Hall as Program Manager.
Renée is passionate about helping the women that come to Roberts Hall. “A lot of the women when they first get here, they go to their room and sleep. I know they’re not sleeping well at a shelter. Some of them’s been living on the street. They are grateful to be in a warm, secure, safe place.”
The respect Renée has for the hard work required of the residents to succeed is apparent. When talking about Shelley, a Roberts Hall resident who managed to complete college while experiencing homelessness, Renée proudly talks about the strides she’s made, “Because anybody that can live on the street and still get their degree… Who could write a paper living on the streets? That meant her running to whatever library she could get to, whenever she could get to it. Staying after school. That meant a lot. It’s a real struggle for a lot of these ladies.”
Shelley explains, “Some how or another I graduated college while I was homeless. I was just determined that was the one thing I couldn’t quit. It was a big blessing coming here. It’s a big blessing to have other people to work with, building a good support system. It’s been really good for me to build a good professional support system with Renée and Jennifer Clark (Director of Programs) and Matt Weaver (Coordinator of Clinical Services).”
Sheila adds, “Roberts Hall is a stop to get you on your way. Renée wants us to get us out and better ourselves and get new people in. There’s people needing these beds. She likes to see a success story like we are.”
In 2019, Roberts Hall
- served 36 women;
- 10 women exited the program and moved into permanent housing;
- 100% of exits were positive;
- 36% of residents increased their income, on average, by $1,268 per month; and
- all residents had health insurance.