Christina’s House Gets a Hand with Giving a Hand Up

SPRINGFIELD — The Davis Foundation recently awarded Christina’s House with a $15,000 grant to do what it does best — giving a hand up to homeless and near-homeless women and their children. A largely underserved population, these women and their families will stay with Christina’s House for 18 months to two years while they establish healthy living habits, become employed, and earn a GED or job training for upward mobility in the workforce.

Paul Belsito, executive director at the Davis Foundation, and Magnus Monroe, grants and project manager, met with the organization in early fall to better understand how the foundation could support Christina’s House. The Davis Foundation, long known in the community for its educational agenda, found a fit, and the board voted to approve and provide much-needed funds to help the organization through a tough year.

“Each family represents a corner of our community where services don’t reach,” said Shannon Mumblo, executive director at Christina’s House. “Largely overwhelmed by life circumstances, we find them managing on their own as head of household with little or no income.” Sometimes they are doubled up with families or friends, she explained, or in an abusive environment. Sometimes their only warmth and comfort is their community church. “We find them there.”

Linda Mumblo, founder and president of the organization since 2014, is well-known for describing this much-needed intervention like this: “we give them a hand up, not a handout.”

Christina’s House provides transitional housing and social services for homeless or near-homeless mothers and children. It educates, embraces, and encourages families in the program with the life skills needed to become self-sufficient as they transition from homelessness to stable environments. The organization also helps each mother seek, obtain, and maintain employment once accepted into the program, and promotes occupational advancement through résumé writing and job-skills training.