Mary Ellen Mitchell
Co-Director
Mary Ellen Mitchell is a co- founder of Lydia’s House. As a collegiate volunteer, she became interested in the root causes of homelessness at the Open Door Community in Atlanta. Shortly after her graduation from Emory University, she moved back to Cincinnati, her home, and became an on-sight volunteer at Grace Place, a provider of transitional housing for women and children. Professional development continued for her in Washington, DC where she worked for Jubilee Housing, a nonprofit provider of housing and supportive services. She returned to Cincinnati in 2006 and went on to hone skills in fundraising and development and complete her MA at Xavier University. Mary Ellen has been married to Ben for ten years, is a member of Bellarmine Chapel and is the mother of three young children. She lives in Norwood where she's helped renovate 5 houses, once led an effort to revitalize a neighborhood park, and sometimes preaches at Vineyard Central Church.
Meridith Owensby
Co-Director
Meridith is a co-founder of Lydia's House. She has a decade-long history in transitional and low-income housing provision. She became interested in the root causes of homelessness as s collegiate volunteer at the Open Door Community, a homeless service provider in Atlanta, Georgia. Meridith continued her work with the Open Door after graduation, becoming a live-in resident and the Volunteer Coordinator for the ministry. Professional development continued in Washington, DC. Meridith worked as a Social Services Manager at Miriam’s House, a home for homeless women with HIV. She brings many gifts and talents to Lydia's House, including case management and guest support, liturgy and celebration, and operations and finance prowess. She enjoys yoga and the arts, and is a member of the Winton Community Free Methodist Church.
Laura Menze
Resident Services Director & Occupational Therapist
Laura graduated with a Masters of Occupational Therapy from University of Indianapolis in 2009. Before practicing occupational therapy at Lydia’s House, she served individuals with serious mental illness involved in the criminal justice system with a focus on developing life skills and promoting mental health. She volunteered with Lydia's House from the beginning assisting with accounting and mental health consulting. She joined the Lydia's House staff in 2017 and now provides occupational therapy services to current and former Lydia's House guests, including at Virginia Coffey Place, an 8-unit permanent supportive housing building for former Lydia’s House guests. In addition, she coordinates intake of new guests, completes accounting, and tracks outcomes. She lives several blocks from Lydia's House and worships at Christ the Savior Holy Spirit Orthodox Church in Norwood.
Ben Eilerman
Director of Community Housing Development
Ben joined the Lydia's House staff in 2017, though he has been instrumental in property acquisition, renovation and maintenance since the beginning. Currently he is leading the effort to renovate our 8 unit apartment building on Carter Avenue. As our resident LEED certified architect, Ben works within the Norwood and Greater Cincinnati community to develop neighborhood partnerships for future housing options and for programmatic support/neighborhood assets that will improve the quality of life for guests. He also leverages partnerships to attract wider range funding for housing development in our neighborhood. He has been married to Mary Ellen for ten years, is the father to three young children, and a Norwood resident.
Honna Brown
Volunteer Coordinator
Honna originally moved to Ohio to participate in an urban farming work study down the street from Lydia's house and got to know the community through working in a garden in the side yard. She studied theatre and speech at Northwestern College in Iowa, where she fell in love with applied theatre and how play and story-sharing intersect with communicating and educating about sociopolitical issues. Along with that, she has a deep love of the outdoors and spent many summer seasons facilitating youth wilderness and adventure educational experiences in northern Minnesota. She can often be found laughing with others, dancing, playing the violin, practicing yoga, or baking bread.
Helen Zoller
Maternal and Postpartum Care Advocate
Helen was born and raised in Cleveland and has spent the last decade developing her talents as a visual artist in the LA area. As she’s grown more in touch with her creativity, she’s realized her deep adoration for the beauty of life and epic transformation that takes place every time a child is born onto this planet. This led her to become a certified doula so that she can support women and their families as they embark on this new journey. Helen is passionate about ensuring that each and every family has the love and guidance they need to grow in wholeness and reach their goals.
Bailey Miller
Homeless Advocate
Bailey was born in Middletown, Ohio. She attended Miami University, where she majored in Interactive Media Studies and minored in Photography and Violin Performance. After that, she spent almost 3 years pursuing a career as a UX Designer. Along the way, Bailey found herself being unexpectedly drawn towards community and deeper meaning. It is then that Bailey decided to participate in a local program called Brendan's Crossing, which acts as both an intentional community and a year-long program of dedicated service and personal spiritual formation. Bailey started volunteering at Lydia's House around the same time and loved it, so she chose it as her full-time service placement for Brendan's Crossing. Bailey spends the rest of her time playing music, reading non-fiction, taking photos, and pursuing deep conversations.