Giving disenfranchised women in Rochester, NY the tangible supplies and emotional support they need to get back on their feet.
Bethany House is a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality sheltering women and their children in need of hospitality since1977. Bethany serves women and children, including those from the city of Rochester, Monroe County, New York state, and those fleeing other areas of the country. Women come for a variety of reasons; some have been victims of domestic violence, some have been evicted from their homes, some are trying to recover from alcohol and/or drug addiction, some are being released from incarceration, and some have been hospitalized for illness of mind and/or body.
Our primary focus is to serve the needs of women at least 21 years of age, with or without children. Our population is not limited by race, religion or economic background. The door is always open to those in need.
We also operate an emergency food cupboard. Those in need of assistance are welcome to make an appointment and come to the cupboard Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 10am and 1pm. We ask them to limit their requests to once a month. Bethany House also has a clothing room for infant and toddlers at no cost. We are able to operate the food cupboard and the clothing room through the generosity of our wider community throughout the city—individuals, families, churches, and friends who share what they have and bring us so much joy.
We are grounded in the principles of the Catholic Worker Movement, a lay movement started in the 1930s. As such, we are not part of a formally organized body; rather, we hold dear the values of personalism, peace, and solidarity, and believe in providing hospitality, shelter, and support for the poor and homeless.
The principles of the house include:
Personalism—each person who comes to the house is treated as an individual, with dignity and respect. We accept personal responsibility for the love and care of each person who comes through our door.
Pacifism—we practice nonviolent speech and action and believe conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means. The opinions of all should be respected.
Voluntary Poverty—we believe it is important to live in solidarity with those in our community for whom impoverishment is not a choice. Staff of the house does not receive a salary. Room, board, health insurance and a small stipend are given depending on need.
Clarification of Thought—we try to be aware of and understand issues of importance, in the world news and in our own city of Rochester. Our special interest is in information affecting women and children. This often takes the form of roundtable discussions. Some crop up organically around the dinner table while others include interested persons from the wider community.
Bethany House does not accept government funding for the services we provide. We rely on the goodness of God’s people to care for “the least among us”. Since our beginnings in 1977, we have not been disappointed. We have all of the regular expenses that come with maintaining a home, with the added need for funds to assist those living in poverty. Whenever able, we offer assistance with rental security deposits, cover transportation for emergency travel, provide camp fees for children, and honor various other requests for assistance as they arise.
Bethany House continues to do the work for which it was originally conceived: providing food, shelter, clothing, support, advocacy, and hospitality for women and their children. Our commitment remains to serve those who have often been invisible and forgotten.