For Walter and his daughter, and hundreds more like them, St. John Center seeks to expand space and services

The combination of social services, housing counseling, supportive housing, and services of partner agencies under the roof of a day shelter is a winning combination.  One indicator of success is this — 219 SJC guests moved from homelessness to housing in the fiscal year that just ended.

These 219 men, some on the streets for decades, are now in a stable situation in which they can move forward.  Every story deserves telling, but here’s just one:

Walter worked as a dish washer at a popular restaurant for years.  He typically slept in an alley or empty parking garage because his shift ended in the middle of the night.  He’d come to St. John Center each morning to shower and work on his housing applications.  He always stayed current with his child support payments.  When he visited his daughter, she’d ask, “When do I get to stay with you, Daddy?”

“Soon, sweetie.  You can stay with me someday soon.”

With the help of SJC’s housing counselor, Walter moved into housing this year, representing one of the 219.  But to his daughter, he is the only one.

He stopped by recently to proudly introduce his daughter to staff and report that she stays with him a few nights each week.

St. John Center wants to do more of that kind of work.  Simply put, though, there is no more room.

To address this lack of space, the board unanimously voted to renovate the building to modify existing space and expand square footage in order to increase services.  The renovation project will cost an estimated $775,000.  Those same board members have already committed the first $40,000 to the campaign.

The plan will expand the building to the south and make room for a net increase of six offices, as well as meeting rooms and work spaces for staff and clients.  It is important to note that none of the three options compromise the statuary or windows that help make St. John Center a true sanctuary for 188 homeless men a day.

If you would like to see the plans for the expansion please call 568-6758, and ask for Maria at ext. 21, Keith at ext. 31, or Ron at ext. 29.  Any financial support of the expansion will be yet another way to enable even more homeless men to tackle the barriers that stand between them and housing.

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