New shelter for the homeless opens tomorrow

New shelter for the homeless opens tomorrow

POSTED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 2:30pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 2:34pm

Bishop Robert Muench, Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden, community leaders and volunteers will officially cut the
ribbon and open a new emergency shelter for homeless men in a special ceremony to be held on Friday,
December 21, at 10:00 am.

The ceremony will take place at the new Bishop Ott Shelter located at 220 St. Vincent de Paul Place.

This facility will be large enough to house 31 homeless men every night, and during times of emergency or disaster, it can be converted to a 62-bed facility. Whether it’s freezing outside or hurricane-force winds are howling through the streets, we will be there for this needy population. This new shelter was completed through a half-million-dollar HUD grant.

The mission of our new program will be to empower individuals in a way which helps them to achieve and maintain
self-sufficiency. The original Bishop Ott Shelter opened on December 21, 1991 on Plank Road. Our Bishop Ott Shelter
Program has several critical community programs, and this year marks the 21st anniversary of our Bishop Ott Men’s Shelter on Plank Road and the 11th anniversary of our Sweet Dreams Shelter for Women & Children. These important programs provide essential services in our community by providing a hand-up, not a hand-out.

The late Bishop Stanley J. Ott once said, "If I have been a light in some small way, then all of us can be a light." This
new facility will not only double our capacity during emergencies; it will also allow the current space at our Convention Street men’s shelter to be utilized for another purpose - a shelter for intact families. By moving the men’s shelter, we can begin the process of putting a family shelter in place, a place where we can accept married couples with children; where we can take more women and children, as well as homeless families headed by single fathers. The planning process for the new family shelter is under way.

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