Each year at Amate Magic, we honor an alum of the program who has continued to live out the mission and tenets of Amate House long after their year of service, formation, and leadership development. Candidates are nominated by their peers in the fall; however, like Rev. Casey, this honoree was nominated back in 2019. We were so happy to finally honor her in person.
Claire Sloss began her career to end homelessness as an Amate House fellow where she worked to advance affordable housing and tenants’ rights at Mercy Housing.
Following her service year, Claire attended the University of Chicago where she received a Master of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy. While pursuing her degree, Claire interned at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and was later hired as a development associate. For over 11 years, Claire held several positions in development and marketing at the Chicago Coalition for Homelessness.
Most recently, Claire began working as a digital content strategist at the Housing Narrative Lab, a new communications and research hub focused on developing strategies for comprehensive solutions to solve homelessness. As the Digital Content Strategist, Claire is responsible for managing the Lab’s digital presence, engaging communicators from grassroots organizations around the country to shift the narrative around homelessness and housing insecurity.
Claire’s whole career has centered around building awareness of the injustices that people experiencing homelessness face and advocating for better policies and funding to improve access to housing. She continues to serve her community in other capacities, as well. She has served on the Amate House Associate Board, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Associate Board, and the Jane Addams Resource Corporation Board. And she has volunteered as an ESL and adult basic education tutor!
We were pleased to present the Founder’s Award to Claire Sloss who continues to put “Love in Action” every day by living the Amate House tenets of community, social justice, and service.
Below are Claire’s remarks during Amate Magic on April 30th:
“My year in Amate House was simply put the most impactful year of my entire life. I have never experienced such pure love and joy, and authentic connection with a group of people in such a short period of time before or since that year. And many of my amate housemates are still my closest friends today.
I think back on my Amate year with nothing but fondness now. Time has smoothed out the rough edges, but it was not a year without its challenges. We were a house of 14 people, and tensions ran high, but we were all there with an honest – if not naive – desire to do good. We came with our privileges and biases, our egos were bruised and many of us found ourselves questioning our purpose, we all came out a little more jaded than we were going in, but I didn’t think any of us could say we didn’t grow.
Through our differences, our challenges, our challenging each other, something beautiful grew. Through our desires to be the best version of ourselves for the people we served and our community members. We began to understand that true happiness and satisfaction doesn’t come from luxury but from simplicity. And the most important lessons don’t come from textbooks and university lectures but from dedicating yourself in service, in solidarity, in stewardship.
To the current fellows, I hope that as you all transition out of your Amate year, you take with you the strength and fierce love of your housemates. If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it’s shown us – without a doubt – the power and importance of community. No matter how alone we may feel, you will always have the people who went through this strange and transformative experience with you. And years from now, when you meet someone and tell them about that year you lived in a convent with 10 strangers and they look back with at you with a look of horror on their face, you can smile to yourself knowing that they will never fully understand the pricelessness of building community around the shared values that Amate espouses.
So, thank you to Amate House for the immense impact it has had on my life, the lifelong friends I couldn’t live without, the experiences that broke me down and built me back up, and for this incredibly humbling honor that I don’t deserve.“