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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

HOPE HOUSE. Hope House, a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, opened in Dubuque around 1997 at 1592 Central and was one of hundreds located throughout the world. The program was started nationally by Dorothy Day who believed these sites should bot be dependent on the government and should be operated only on a donation basis. (1) A person did not need to be a Catholic or even Christian to live there. Catholic Workers provided food, clothing and shelter and did not receive wages for their service to the poor. (2) There was no curfew for the residents or any maximum length of stay. (3)

Many individuals and groups provided food and staff for community meals on Sundays and Mondays. Some of those helping were students of LORAS COLLEGE; St. Augustine and St. Mary of Platteville; ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER CATHOLIC CHURCH; ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH, KEY WEST; The Divine Word Seminary; H.E.A.R.T.; NATIVITY CHURCH; New Hope farm; and APOSTOLIC FAITH TEMPLE. (4)

A client's length of stay was determined when talking with one of the workers. Overnight guests shared two common bathrooms with showers. Hope House was a weapon-, smoke-, alcohol-, drug-, and violence-free environment where guests could feel safe. Ordinarily, guests were expected to be at the evening meal, participate in weekly meetings and recreation, and to contribute to the upkeep of the house. (4)

In 2017 the house had served single men since about 2008. Officials at Catholic Worker believed the time for expansion had come to make the house able to handle women and possibly children. The plan was to purchase 1590 Locust which was joined to 1592 Locust. The renovation project was estimated to cost $60,000. (6)



1. Thill, Cecelia and Catie Steele, "Hope House: Feeding the Hungry, Providing Hospitality," Telegraph Herald, November 27, 2014, p. 26

2. "Hope House Catholic Worker House," St. Mary Catholic Church, Online: http://stmaryplatteville.org/wp/index.php/pastoral-care/hope-house/

3. Thill

4. "Hope House..."

5. Ibid.

6. Rezab, Matthew. "Hope House Announces Expansion Plan," Telegraph Herald, October 2, 2017, p. 3A