Name: Jenny Owens
Innovation: Hosts for Humanity- hosting families in need of affordable overnight accommodations while visiting a child in the hospital.
Home: Seton Hill
Occupation: Director of Marketing Recruitment for Graduate Studies, University of Maryland at Baltimore.
Hobbies: Pottery, taking classes at Meadow Mill, being outside, hiking, being a nerd, and reading.
Fun Fact: Wrote a 400-page Star Wars/Power rangers crossover fan fiction book when she was younger.
Twitter Handle: @jenny0wens @host4humanity
Open Doors During Open Heart
A mother opens her home and heart to provide affordable housing for loved ones during long hospital visits.
Photography Provided by
“I had a really hard start to parenthood,” Jenny Owens explains. Her son was only minutes old when doctors took him away to clean and measure him. While there they noticed that he was having trouble breathing and diagnosed him with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, a rare condition that would require immediate surgery. At two-days-old Jenny’s newborn son underwent an operation at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
After eighteen days in the hospital, the Marketing Director, finally took her son home, only to discover that the surgery had failed and would have to be done over. During that stressful time, she was greeted with support of her friends and family, who made sure that she and her husband were taken care of and had meals.
“What if people could open their homes like AirBnb as a hospitality home when people are traveling to visit their sick loved ones?”
Then one afternoon while visiting the hospital, she ran into a grandmother and her adult children who had adopted a baby. The baby was also undergoing surgery. The parents were staying in a tiny hospital room about the size of a dorm room and the grandmother was disoriented and did not know where to go. Jenny thought to herself “What if people could open their homes like AirBnb as a hospitality home when people are traveling to visit their sick loved ones?” She remembered the kindness of her friends and decided to create Hosts for Humanity.
With the average cost of a hotel stay in Baltimore at $138 a night, Hosts for Humanity lessens the financial burden of family members who need an affordable place to stay between hospital visits. For only $15 per night, hosts open their homes to guests who need somewhere to stay during that time. Owens has recruited 13 hosts so far and has been listed as a resource for families at Johns Hopkins.