ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — For the first time since it was founded in 1984, the House of Mercy has a new leader.
Officials announced that Dr. Tammy Butler will become the new executive director while founder Sister Grace Miller will remain in the role of spiritual director.
Sister Grace is credited with founding House of Mercy in 1984 while trying to find housing for three homeless men on a cold winter night in Rochester. Officials say she spent the evening driving the men from shelter to shelter, but were told there was no available beds for any of them.
Sister Grace went on to use grant funding to purchase a single-family house on Central Park to help Rochester’s most vulnerable. From there House of Mercy was established and it would later move to Hudson Avenue and then expanded to its current facility on Ormond Street.
“Through it all, Sister Grace has been a champion for Rochester’s homeless — always there to welcome, listen, advocate and share spiritual guidance,” House of Mercy officials said in a Thursday press release. “In her new role as Spiritual Director, she will continue to provide all of these services and ensure that the welcoming culture for which House of Mercy is known endures.
Officials say Butler, as the new executive director, has a background in human services and behavioral health. She’s credited with helping establish the first alcohol and substance use disorder Recovery Community Center in Rochester, helping found a nonprofit organization to help individuals and families move beyond the trauma of addiction, incarceration, un/undertreated mental illness, poverty, racism, gender inequality, and broken relationships, and served as a trainer in the field of Professional Recovery Coaching.
“It is a tremendous honor to take on this position at House of Mercy,” Butler said. “I have great regard for Sister Grace and the mission and values of the House of Mercy. I am thankful for this opportunity to continue my career in service to the needs of those who are often overlooked by society.”
Officials say House of Mercy shelters up to 82 individuals each night and provides 9,000 meals every month for families and individuals who are hungry. In addition to food, shelter and clothing, House of Mercy also offers social services, housing assistance, medical care and supports burials.