More than 25 years ago, the Light House was started by local churches to help meet the needs of the homeless in downtown Annapolis after the Christian Workers Soup Kitchen on West Street was destroyed in a fire. To help fill the void left for housing for the homeless in downtown Annapolis, an immediate respite consisting of six cots were set up in the lobby of St. Anne's Parish House on Duke of Gloucester Street. Several weeks later the Light House, formerly known as Annapolis Area Ministries, Inc. (AAMI) became incorporated with a membership of six area congregations.
In 1991, the first building at 206 West Street was acquired and The Light House program was officially established serving 15 residential clients and providing lunches to community members.
In October 2010, a brand new 24,000 square foot, $8.4 million facility was finished and the Light House moved into its current building at 10 Hudson Street. Today The Light House board contains representatives from 15 area member congregations along with community leaders representing various constituencies in the area.
Throughout its 24-year history, The Light House has expanded its programs and services beyond that of emergency shelter.
In 1995 the Anchor House transitional housing program was established. As availability arises, families with minor children who have been successful in the Light House program transition to one of our two houses where they are able to reside for up to two years. They are responsible for paying rent based on their income and a portion of their utilities.
In 2002, the Friends of The Light House Shelter (FLHS) a separate non-profit, was formed as a community based organization whose volunteers host several annual events to help support the operating costs of the Light House. These annual events include a Golf Tournament, Run for Shelter, Pumpkin Patch, Bountiful Harvest and Gumbo Fest.
In 2008 the Light House’s first permanent housing option became available. Known as Willow House, this residence provides permanent housing for five women.
In 2006, a capital campaign began with the hopes of raising $8 million to construct a brand new three-story shelter. A piece of property was purchased that straddles the City of Annapolis /Anne Arundel County line at 10 Hudson Street.
In 2010, after completing a successful $8.4 million fund raising campaign, the 24,000 square foot facility with the capacity to house 30 men, 15 women and five families (with up to 20 children) with a large commercial kitchen and space dedicated to expand programming was completed.
In October 2010, staff and clients moved into the new facility.
The Light House continues serving hot breakfasts, lunches and dinners daily to the residents, and expanding the Pantry program distributing 250 bag lunches a day and 400 bags of groceries per month to individuals and families and offering the daily Food Market of perishable and non-perishable goods to those in the community need of food.
In 2011 the Building Employment Success Training (B.E.S.T.) Program was established to provide job training skills to help residents find sustainable employment and ultimately, permanent housing.
In 2012 the pantry was expanded by 400 square feet adding a large walk-in freezer to accommodate the growing donations and distribution of food.
In 2013 B.E.S.T. Catering was established as an outgrowth of the culinary training program. Over 100 catering contracts were secured that year.
Safe Harbour, the new Alumni Center was opened in September 2014. Its purpose is to provide the opportunity for those who have transitioned out of The Light House to continue to access services and to provide peer support to those ready to move on to self-sufficiency.