Maria Price to retire as St. John Center for Homeless Men director
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Maria Price is stepping down as executive director of the St. John Center for Homeless Men after spending 13 years at the helm of the Louisville shelter.
Price announced she will step down from her position at the end of September.
“It has been a privilege to serve the people who come to St. John Center,” Price said in a Friday news release. “I’m incredibly grateful for my time here.”
Price began volunteering in 1994 at the daytime shelter and social services center, 700 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd., and in 2006, she joined the staff as the Development Director.
When St. John’s founding director, Sister Mary Kathleen Sheehan, retired in 2008, Price became the executive director.
During her tenure, Price oversaw the launch of the Permanent Supportive Housing Program, which St. John’s describes as a “Housing First approach to providing both housing and ongoing case management to the most vulnerable homeless men in the community.”
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Today, 93 formerly homeless men are part of the program, with 98% of them retaining their housing for more than 12 months in any given year, according to the center, which is currently celebrating its 35th year of operation.
Price also helped the organization develop its Street Outreach Team, which partners with fellow social services provider UP for Women and Children in connecting people living in camps and on the street to shelter and resources.
Last year, the Street Outreach Team served 1,331 households in the Louisville community, according to St. John’s.
The Day Shelter and Social Services Center has also grown during Price’s tenure to include employment counseling as well as a housing counseling program that helped 105 people move from homelessness to permanent housing in the first 113 days of 2021.
Price led the organization through a significant expansion of its building just east of downtown at the corner of Muhammad Ali Boulevard and Clay Street, the site of the former St. John Catholic Church.
During her tenure, the center’s staff has also grown from nine to 35 full- and part-time staff.
Russell Smith, chair of the St. John Center’s board, said a search for a new executive director will begin immediately and hopefully find the new leader by the end of September.
“Maria’s years of service have been transformational for the organization,” Smith said in Friday’s news release. “She’s built a strong staff, executive leadership team and culture here. We feel confident that St. John Center will continue to grow to meet the needs of this community.”
After making it through a trying year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Price said she is “full of enthusiasm for the staff we have on board today.”
“In the last 14 months, as the pandemic upended everything about the way we work, this team of people here have shown up every day to welcome and serve people facing homelessness,” Price said. “They amaze and inspire me. I’ll miss them, I’ll miss the people we serve. But the time is right for new leadership.”
Reach Billy Kobin at firstname.lastname@example.org said om.