Update & Appeal

Posted - December 21, 2023

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

That famous phrase to begin A Tale of Two Cities, sums up our year at Harbor House of Rochester. This year has been the best of times as Harbor House has expanded and delivered on our mission, helping families in need of healthcare hospitality housing more than ever. So far this year, we have had over 100 individual guests and provided over 1,300 nights rest, impressive figures for such a small house. All four of our guest rooms were full most of the summer!

  • In May, there were no hotel rooms available in Rochester because the PGA Championship came to town at the same time as the Lilac Festival and college graduations. Harbor House turned rooms over in record time so that families with a loved one in the hospital had a place to stay. We hosted 15 families that month. Unlike hotels, we did not raise our rates due to high demand. Indeed – we’ve held the line since 2009 for our room rates.
  • In August, a tragic accident on I-390 put several people from an extended family in the hospital. Harbor House opened its doors wide, giving many a place to stay and to grieve.
  • In October, family of the recipient of the 350th heart transplant at University of Rochester Medical Center stayed with us, just as we were there for the family of the 300th last summer.

It was the worst of times, because our dear Mary Crowley passed away at the young age of 36. A shining beacon of Harbor House during her 12+ years of service, Mary began volunteering at Harbor House early in its inception and was hired as Weekend House Manager in 2011. In 2021, upon the retirement of our wonderful Managing Director Joan Malley, Mary became House Manager and held our organization together during this transition in leadership. Mary took ill in February and was hospitalized three times before her death in July. Her warmth and smiles are missed by many. We honor her life through our work, centered on compassion, kindness, and dedication to community.

“A hub of care…”

From Harbor House’s front windows, guests see the brick façade of University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). Being so close allows Harbor House to meet the unique and urgent needs of our guests. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. URMC is the region’s leader in cardiac care, offering the most advanced treatments. It is the only transplant hospital in the state outside of New York City. While URMC provides this hub of cardiac care, Harbor House provides a refuge for the families who travel to support their loved ones. As URMC expands, Harbor House dreams of growing in step to provide convenient, affordable, and supporting housing for additional families.

Please help us help families facing their greatest challenge.

Our guests rarely know how long they will be with us. Often they expect to stay a week, but medical complications cause the stay to become a month or two or more. Keeping room rates as low as possible was dear to Mary’s heart, as she understood the need to help families who are often struggling financially as they support a loved one through a major health crisis. We need your financial assistance to keep our room rates as low as possible.

During the best and worst of times this year, the comfort and care for our guests at Harbor House never wavered. Between losing Mary and having one of our busiest years ever, we fell behind communicating with you. To stay connected in 2024 and beyond, we need your support in two ways:

1) Please be in touch with us. In particular, if your address or your email address has changed or will change, please let us know: info@HarborHouseRochester.org or (585) 473-1779.
2) Consider donating, so we can care for families as they care for their loved ones.

We respect the privacy of our guests by rarely taking photos. This year though, two families were willing to describe how Harbor House has assisted them. Visit this page to learn more and hear these guests’ stories as told to Michaela Chan, our newest team member.

Best Regards,

Lawrence A. Jones
Executive Director

P.S. We’d love for you join us for our 15th Anniversary! Save the date to celebrate: Sept. 28th, 2024.

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