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Our Mission

Paul’s Place is a catalyst and leader for change, improving the quality of life in the Southwest Baltimore communities. Paul’s Place provides programs, services, and support that strengthen individuals and families, fostering hope, personal dignity and growth.

Our Vision

The individuals and families living in Southwest Baltimore City will have full access to high quality health care, education, employment, and housing along with the other support necessary for stability and self-sufficiency.

Our Neighborhood

Paul’s Place is located on Ward street in Pigtown, a neighborhood west of downtown Baltimore: in addition to serving Pigtown, we serve the following following adjacent neighborhoods: Poppleton, Southwest Baltimore, Morrell Park, and Westport.

In the 19th century, Southwest Baltimore was the heart of the industrial revolution in Baltimore and the birthplace of the B&O Railroad. Brickyards, factories, and waterfront businesses employed thousands of workers whose families populated the distinct row houses of the area. As the 20th century progressed, industrial activity in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods and in Baltimore City declined; businesses closed, and individuals with means gradually moved out of the city.

Visible remnants of that history remain with Mount Clare Mansion in Carroll Park and the majestic rail cars at the B&O Railroad Museum. Today, predominantly African-American communities are marginalized, and the socioeconomic realities of the mid-20th century remain the everyday experience for residents in Southwest Baltimore.

According to the United Way ALICE Project, the survival budget for a household of four living in Baltimore City is $69,672 which requires a full-time wage of almost $35 per hour. In Southwest Baltimore, 58% of families earn less than $40,000 forcing them to rely on community resources and public benefits to meet their basic needs.

While the median household income in Baltimore city has increased from $38,346 in 2014 to $44,262 in 2016, the median household income in Southwest Baltimore has decreased during that same time period from $35,793 to $31,813.

In the five neighborhoods of Southwest Baltimore we serve, an average of 39% of children live in poverty. As a result, their families are forced to spend a large portion of their energy and resources meeting the basic needs of their family – food, shelter and clothing. This leaves parents and other caregivers with limited capacity to provide children with the safety, support, and encouragement they need to thrive.

Employment is a key driver of increased economic stability, but there are many barriers making employment difficult to obtain. Currently, minimum wage jobs do not pay enough to cover household monthly expenses in Baltimore, and there are limited entry-level jobs that pay a living wage for individuals without a bachelor’s degree. With almost 30% of adults over 25 lacking a high school diploma or equivalency in Southwest Baltimore, there is a large cohort of adults who need additional training to fit into today’s job market.

The 45,000 residents of Southwest Baltimore live with the consequences of generational poverty, violence, and limited opportunities. Paul’s Place welcomes these community members daily to meet their basic needs and encourages them to take advantage of our many resources.

Sources: Vital Signs 14, 15, and 16 (Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance), National Equity Atlas, United Way ALICE Project (2018), The Racial Wealth Divide in Baltimore (CFED, 2017)

Additional community information is available at:
Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance Community Statistical Profile

Our History

In the summer of 1982, two volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Glyndon – Helen Martien and Reverend Philip Roulette – approached Reverend Edwin Stube of St. Paul the Apostle Church on Washington Boulevard with their vision for a soup kitchen in one of the poorest communities in Baltimore City and the nation, Washington Village/Pigtown. On September 27, 1982, Paul’s Place began serving soup and sandwiches twice weekly.

Word spread quickly about this new soup kitchen, and within the first two years, volunteer cooks from all faiths began preparing casseroles off-site to serve at Paul’s Place. The Hot Lunch program soon expanded to seven days a week. Also during its first two years, Paul’s Place began offering a values-based Saturday morning program and summer camp for children in the community.

By the end of its fifth year of service to the community, Paul’s Place had established a Nurses’ Clinic to provide basic health screenings to homeless and uninsured community members and began distributing clothing and bags of food. Paul’s Place continued to add programs and serve more people in need until the mid-1990s when Paul’s Place became homeless.

For two years, Paul’s Place distributed bag lunches from a storefront on Washington Boulevard while its volunteer leaders raised the funds needed to purchase and renovate a new home on Ward Street. In 1996, Paul’s Place opened its Outreach Center at 1118 Ward Street and resumed the Hot Lunch program and its other programs. Three years later, the new wing of the Outreach Center opened and Paul’s Place began a strategic planning and community asset mapping process to determine Paul’s Place’s niche in the community and the direction of future programming.

After more than 30 years of service to the community, Paul’s Place now offers more than two dozen services and programs to low-income individuals and families in the Washington Village/Pigtown community. As we look to the future, Paul’s Place will continue to expand programming and partner with other organizations in our community to improve the quality of life in Washington Village/Pigtown.

A Timeline of Paul’s Place

1982 – 19891990 – 19992000 – Present

1982 – 1989

In 1982 two volunteers from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Glyndon – Helen Martien and the Reverend Philip Roulette – approached Reverend Edwin Stube of St. Paul the Apostle Church on Washington Boulevard with their vision for a soup kitchen to serve members of one of the poorest communities in the City and the nation.

On September 27, 1982, Paul’s Place began serving soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches twice a week to the hungry in Washington Village/Pigtown.

Within two years, the Hot Lunch program had expanded to seven days a week; local churches and synagogues provided casseroles to serve our lunch guests.

In 1984, Paul’s Place began programming for children with a values-based Saturday morning program called Kid’s Place. That summer, neighborhood children participated in summer camp.

In our 4th year, the Nurses’ Clinic was established. In its first year, the Clinic performed basic health screenings for 150 homeless and uninsured community members.

In 1987, Paul’s Place began distributing clothing and expanded meal service to include breakfast seven days a week.   The following year, Paul’s Place began distributing bags of food to community members in need through the Super Pantry program.  Almost 7 years after opening, Paul’s Place was the second-largest soup kitchen in Baltimore city and our services had expanded to include legal assistance, counseling, and referrals  for services outside our walls. We also offered food, showers, and a warm bed to the homeless men in Washington Village/Pigtown, with built-in “Murphy beds” in the balcony above the gym and showers in the locker room of the St. Paul the Apostle Church.

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1990 – 1999

Paul’s Place, in partnership with the Middendorf Foundation, founded Open Gates Health Clinic as an off-shoot of our Nurses’ Clinic in 1990.  Our Super Pantry classes taught women to shop economically and to plan and cook nutritious meals for their families.  In 1993, new programs for children were added – mentoring for high-risk children in grades 1- 5 and a special day program at Christmas.  A year later, Paul’s Place moved from St. Paul the Apostle Church to a storefront at 847 Washington Boulevard and reduced meal service to bag lunches.  During this time, the mentoring program for high-risk children, still in operation at St. Paul the Apostle Church, became the After-Three program through a partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Graduate School.  Venable, Baetjer & Howard began teaching budgeting and job skills classes for people accessing Paul’s Place services.

In 1993, Paul’s Place purchased property on Ward Street and began raising money and planning for renovations.  Two years later, the Building Committee selected architects for the construction of our new Outreach Center. With drawings in hand, William Donald Schaefer convinced Whiting-Turner Contracting Company to complete construction at cost and construction at 1118 Ward Street began.

In October 1996, Paul’s Place moved from the storefront on Washington Boulevard to the new Outreach Center at 1118 Ward Street.  Harold Graul outfitted kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment.  The Hot Lunch program, clothing distribution, and Nurses’ Clinic resumed.  Within a year, we had added new programs, including job training, literacy, Narcotics Anonymous, and a Women’s Support Group.  We realized we needed more space and three buildings on Ward Street were demolished in preparation for construction of the new wing of our Outreach Center.  By 1999, Summer Outings and Camps for Kids expanded to eight weeks, and our first Coordinator of Children’s Program was hired.  The Ambassador Program, a rewards-based community volunteer program for underemployed and unemployable adults, was also established.  We began offering showers and laundry services to community members.

2000 – Present

In 2000, a long-range plan was approved by the Board with three areas of focus: 1. expanding programs to include educational, recreational, and social activities; 2. bringing together other service providers to develop a community-wide vision and identify gaps in services; and 3. studying the feasibility of developing a transitional housing program.

In 2002, Paul’s Place celebrated 20 years of service to the community and expanded our partnerships.  We started a Men’s Support Group and Open Gates Health Clinic opened its new clinic on Washington Boulevard just around the corner from Paul’s Place, making referrals for special care for homeless and other uninsured community members simpler.  In 2004, Paul’s Place received the Standards for Excellence from Maryland Nonprofits. This seal of approval shows that Paul’s Place operates with ethics and accountability in our program operations, governance, human resources, financial management, and fundraising.  During this year, our After-3 program began working with elementary school children instead of middle school students.  By 2005, we were ready for additional expansion and began planning for the renovation of the second floor of our Outreach Center.

By 2006, we had new space for a computer lab, wellness room and Market Place.  We continued to expand our services to include after school and summer programming for grades 1-12.  In 2010, we invested in providing case management for our guests and in 2012, we remodeled a row home next to Paul’s Place to expand our space once again. Our Case Management suite houses three case managers, our employment specialist and our Director of Health and Wellness.

Today, Paul’s Place has over 20 programs and continues to be a beam of light in the Washington Village/Pigtown Neighborhood.  Over 30 years, we have been able to develop programming to meet the changing needs of our community and remain financially stable.  Come visit us to see all that’s happening!