About Us


Mary Ellen Mitchell Eilerman (Co-Director), Elizabeth Coyle (former Resident Volunteer), Meridith Owensby (Co-Director), and Rachel Kohl (former Associate Volunteer)

The founders of Lydia’s House, Mary Ellen Mitchell Eilerman and Meridith Owensby, have decade-long histories in transitional and low-income housing provision.  Both became interested in the root causes of homelessness as collegiate volunteers 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.  Mary Ellen 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 both founders in Washington, DC.  Mary Ellen spent a year working at Jubilee Housing, a nonprofit provider of housing and supportive services to the economically disadvantaged residents of the Adams Morgan neighborhood.  Meridith meanwhile worked as a Social Services Manager at Miriam’s House, a home for homeless women with HIV.  Mary Ellen went on to hone skills in fundraising and development, and both eventually became regular volunteers at Grace Place, a similar ministry to Lydia’s House, providing monthly meals to the community.

Mary Ellen is a member of Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University, recently completed an MA in theology from Xavier, and is the mother of two young children. Meridith is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Walnut Hills and works as a vision rehabilitation therapist at the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

During the fall of 2015, Meridith and Mary Ellen are joined by Associate Volunteers Stephanie Howes, Kristi Rhoads and Anne Housholder, as well as many outside volunteers who make weekly commitments to accompany our guests.

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