(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)— St. Joseph's homeless now have a place to escape the cold. After months of preparation, the Crossing Campus overnight homless shelter has opened its doors.
After Sunday night's first frost, Crossing board members said they are happy to have finished in time for the Oct. 15 deadline.
"To be able to welcome them to come into the shelter here tonight is just a dream come true for us," Crossing Board Chair Pastor Roger Lenander said.
The building is a worship center by day, and a shelter by night. It took six months and Crossing members say it took many volunteers to get the shelter ready in time. Preparation for the shelter started after United Way formed a "homeless task force" after the Salvation Army Booth Center closed in May.
Despite pushback from some in the community, volunteers and businesses worked to secure funding for the shelter raising $210,000. The shelter, including the eight-person staff, is funded for the next eight months.
The shelter sleeps 50-60 men and women and will be open overnight starting at 4pm. For the saftey of those using the shelter, there will be at least two trained employees at the shelter at all times.
Pastor Lenander said when the shelter closes in the morning, occupants can walk across the street to the 8th Street Drop-In Center to connect with social workers and agency representatives, who can help them with what they need to work towards independence.
"They come here with a sense of being on the streets, but now they can go right across the street and connnect with those agencies that can help them,"Pastor Lenander said.
For more information, contact the Crossing Campus (816) 217-2148.