The last little building standing between Portland and 5th Avenue came down without ceremony a few weeks ago.
The ancient storefront served as the “living room of Franklin Avenue” for some of this neighborhood’s most destitute for nearly 28 years. Peace House Community was started on October 17, 1985 by Sr. Rose Tillemans, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and she ran it until her death in July of 2002.
A beautiful mosaic by artist Angela Carlson Talle was worked on by many members of the Community. The wall proclaimed that this was “A PLACE TO BELONG”. These words, which describe the ministry of Peace House so well, stood out among the mirror tiles as the mosaic became a focal point of Franklin Avenue.
Peace House Community moved on July 15 from our home at 510 East Franklin to a brand new building at 1816 Portland Avenue. As AEON and HOPE Community worked together on the redevelopment of the Portland/Franklin South Quarter Development, what to do with Peace House in the middle of the project became a heated question.
After 14 years of discussion, that question is answered with a beautiful new building built for us by AEON which will serve the needs of the Peace House Community for decades to come.
The transition has not been easy. Change never is easy. But we are so very grateful for the new building! It that has a much larger room for our daily meditation and prayer, a gleaming state of the art new kitchen with storage space for donated food, an office where we can conduct business, two beautiful new rest rooms, central air conditioning and more.
Best of all we have a beautiful library where we can sit at a table and look at books or have small meetings and where we have a wonderful remembrance wall with photos of the people from our community who have died. There are now 70 and we remark that, “life is shorter when you are on the street.”
Soon there will be a much smaller mosaic in the triangle space on the front of our new building, created again by Angela Carlson Talle. It will again proclaim that we are “A PLACE TO BELONG”.
Peace House Community provides a listening presence to anyone who comes in our door. We are a group of volunteers who come from near and far to provide a welcoming place for many who do not feel welcome anywhere. We have no services. We require that everyone who comes be sober, non-violent and non-judgmental. Everyone who comes is treated equally and is considered a part of our family. We aim to change the lives of the homeless by providing a safe space to think and be and talk about what is meaningful in their lives. We are always looking for new volunteers.
Visit our website at: www.peacehousecommunity.org.
We will have a Grand Opening Open House all day on our 28th anniversary on October 17. We will be open from 10AM to 7PM with a dedication at noon and tours and activities all day. Please join us.
Catherine Mamer is the Peace House Director.