Roanoke Area Ministries (RAM), which celebrated its 50th anniversary in January as the largest day shelter in the area, is in the process of moving into a new facility. Since 1987, the RAM House, which is still owned by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, has been located inside a square brick building on Campbell Avenue that once housed the school and congregation of Our Lady of Nazareth Catholic Church.
When asked why the change in locations now, RAM Executive Assistant Molly Archer replied, “RAM House wanted to assess with our programming to see what needs were still needing to be met by our clients. We wanted to expand our programming, and also make our building handicap accessible. That and the opportunity of having a funder for the building led us to the decision to move.”
Founded in 1971, the doors at RAM House are open for those needing care coordination, day shelter services, meals and emergency financial assistance. RAM House also creates a safe place for people to utilize additional resources.
Roanoke County resident Jim Henson distinctly remembers an interaction he had with a homeless man in 2016. “I was putting some gas in my car and he kindly asked if I could buy him some water in exchange for him cleaning my windows. I ended up buying him a meal, purchasing him a gift card and telling him about the RAM House. When I followed up months later, he said everything was working out just fine.”
The RAM House, explained Archer, is an interfaith non-profit that advocates for those facing or are threatening by homelessness and hunger. Through our Emergency Financial Assistance Program, she continued, we provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants, which assists in helping people pay for utilities, rent and medication.
“By listening and asking genuine questions, we can determine the best needs of our clients. It’s based on conversation and observation. We build relationships and rapport with our clients. Assistance is given based on a case-by-case analysis of a person’s holistic needs. Different clients have different needs, so we customize care management accordingly,” Archer added.
The new site, which has yet to be announced publicly, is expected to offer better amenities for homeless people, larger offices for employees and more services. Additional information about the organization can be found at raminc.org. YG