Supporters of the Theresa House homeless shelter know 22 months can speed by quickly.
That’s why the community needs to get on board sooner rather than later to make certain the shelter not only gets a new home, but that it can do so without disruption of services.
Run by St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church since 1996, the shelter for families and single women has been given until 2010 to relocate from its Mulberry Street home. The church needs the existing shelter space to house seminary students.
Finding a location that is a good fit is important. A new facility must be accessible to the handicapped, and ideally would have 36 beds (the existing facility has 18) and an outdoor play area for children. It makes sense to find a site that can accommodate needs. In the last fiscal year, the shelter provided emergency housing for 43 adults and 53 children. It turned away 835 adults and children because of lack of room.
Parish Administrator Chris Walchuk has said the Theresa House remains a critical part of the parish’s work and the church’s intention is not to abandon the shelter and the people it serves, but to find a new location.
That must happen soon for services not to be disrupted. What is also unclear is how the shelter will be sustained once it’s relocated. Under the existing arrangement on the church’s property, building maintenance, employee payroll and insurance, and other logistical concerns are handled by the church.
As an interdenominational organization that serves people of this area, the shelter is another local nonprofit — like VINE, Kids Against Hunger, The Salvation Army and countless others — that deserves the help of community members. Recent economic woes have made times tougher for many people; now think how tough it must be for those without homes.
If you can offer Theresa House help in its quest to find and support a new home, contact the shelter at 388-1664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
That 22-month relocation period is just about down to 21.