by Mike McGrew
Malachi House celebrates its 30th Anniversary this fall, but more importantly, it will be celebrating the legacies of two individuals - Father Paul Hritz and Catherine “Kaki” O’Neill. These leaders represented the concerns of St. Malachi parishioners who couldn’t accept without protest encountering people dying alone and unsheltered throughout the Near W\est Side, which was less developed in the 1980s than it is today.
In an interview Malachi House’s Executive Director, Judy Ghazoul Hilow, repeatedly emphasized that Malachi House is “a home, not a hospice” and that their main goal is that no one there is alone in a room at the moment that they pass from this world.
Malachi House represents the many people of faith being driven by a sense of religious mission to help those who are suffering. Catholic iconography is prominent throughout the facility and Hilow specifically states that a “calling from God” motivated her to return to the workforce after raising her children, specifically to help in the nonprofit sector. But she also goes out of her way to point out that residents of Malachi House come from various faith backgrounds and that pastoral help is brought in to assist them on their journey irrespective of denomination or religion.
A basement storeroom that seems to never end as one turns corner after corner is filled with donated foodstuffs. However, the most valuable donated resource is the time of the volunteers – referred to as “Angels” – who make up the equivalent of three full-time employees. Not having volunteers would be a strain on a $1.5M budget, one-third of which comes from foundations and which is not supplemented by government funds, even Medicaid.
As every one of the 15 residents that call Malachi House home at any given time would otherwise have nowhere else to go, this facility offers a shining example of a home for the unhoused (homeless?).
Malachi House’s 30th Anniversary Gala will be held at The Cleveland Museum of Art on Saturday, November 4, 2017. Those interested in getting involved via volunteering or donating can contact Judy Ghazol Hilow at email@example.com.