Empowering individuals to reach their full potential.
Providing innovative strategies for supporting individuals in their journey to independence, self-sufficiency, and responsibility.
We believe that every member of the community has value and potential. We also believe that it is important for individuals and communities to identify their own needs and for service providers to amend programming to meet those needs. We do not believe in imposing "solutions" on people or communities. As a result, the programming at the Henrietta Lacks House has evolved over our 28 years to better meet the needs of the individuals we serve.
Previously named The Patrick Allison House, the program was established in 1986 by members and friends of the First and Franklin Street Presbyterian Church as a breakfast program to serve the needs of homeless individuals in Baltimore City.
It soon became evident that homelessness coupled with addiction in individual lives could not be effectively addressed by merely serving a meal or providing emergency shelter. To provide a more loving and long-term approach to serving our participants, the Henrietta Lacks House evolved into a transitional housing program for homeless, addicted men and began to focus on the acquisition of permanent housing and full-time employment as the major stabilizing factors through which individuals could transform their lives.
In recent years, the Henrietta Lacks House program continued to evolve as we recognized that previous incarceration - with all of its resulting additional barriers to a successful and productive life in the community - is also an extremely important factor contributing to the destructive cycle in which our target population is trapped.
Currently, the Henrietta Lacks House serves men exiting incarceration - often after decades - who have nowhere to go, no employment, and a history of substance use. The program provides a safe and stable home, assistance in getting and maintaining full-time employment, support for recovery, and many skills, resources, and opportunities to build a solid foundation for a better life.
An important aspect of the program is its intentionally small size. We serve up to 8 residents at a time, which enables us to tailor our efforts to meet the needs of each individual and creates a positive and supportive group dynamic between residents that often lasts well after people have graduated from the Henrietta Lacks House.
Henrietta Lacks House is an effective intervention to break the destructive cycle of homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, and addiction. Our goal is for each of our residents to leave the program with permanent housing, full-time employment, secure sobriety, and the ability to avoid re-involvement with the criminal justice system.