University of Louisville Magazine


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Page 34 of 75

Faces of Hotel Louisville, clockwise from top: Edna Ross, Linda Stith, Cassie Lintz, Lekisha and Keeshaun Benton, Rev. Tim and Nina Moseley House of Hope HOTEL LOUISVILLE AND THE RESILIENT FAMILIES PROJECT LIVES SAVED AND LESSONS LEARNED IN THE ULTIMATE CLASSROOM Linda Stith knows darkness. Awash in an abusive relationship and the haze of addiction, she felt she had little left. Following a suicide attempt, she wound up in the emergency women's shelter at Wayside Christian Mission. "I disgraced myself and my family," said Stith. "But, Wayside had faith in me. Here I was, this wimpy old woman. They helped me get my family back and have a home." And, she has a job. Three years past her dark point, this professional woman in a tailored business suit clutches a cell phone on a busy day at Hotel Louisville, and proudly proclaims, "I am general manager of MY hotel. It changed my life." She's not the only success story to come out of Wayside Christian Mission's Hotel Louisville, a unique entity that combines a homeless shelter, social and recovery programs and a public hotel. Inspirational stories abound, fueled by a dynamic UofL collaboration called the Resilient Families Project. 'THREE HOTS AND A COT, WE'RE NOT' "We're experiencing a paradigm shift on homelessness. Once, 'three hots and a cot' was all that was needed to help the homeless. Three meals and a bed in a shelter is not what is happening here. We're turning the traditional notion of homelessness upside down," said Edna Ross, associate professor of psychology, and i2a (Ideas to Action) specialist for critical thinking. "UofL, along with the Wayside Christian Mission, is providing the strategies and sustainable resources to teach transferable life skills," said Ross. "The Resilient Families Project teaches life skills, job training, hospitality training and, most importantly, parenting skills. We're not just feeding them fish; we're teaching them how to fish." Mandatory weekly sessions in the seven-month program teach parenting skills, literacy and child enrichment. Wayside Christian Mission's Hotel Louisville is the only hotel that is owned and operated by a rescue mission and is staffed primarily by homeless women and men. It features 12 floors of hotel, office, banquet and conference facilities and a busy restaurant. The unusual part? Four floors serve as a homeless shelter and the homeless residents provide the staff for everything from servers, maintenance and cleaning staff to even executive management. "Hotel Louisville is an integral part of our holistic recovery program," said Rev. Tim Moseley, 83K, president/CEO of Wayside Christian Mission. "Rather than learning vocational skills in a SUMMER UOFL MAGAZINE| 3 3

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