First Overnight Homeless Shelter In Washington County Now Open
The first overnight homeless shelter in Washington County opens it's doors Labor Day.
Six families will move in to building that had been home to 8 nuns at Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Oakdale. The last nuns moved out last year and the building had been vacant at the same time St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi needed to find alternative housing for families housed in a program through that church.
Denny Farrell, Parish Administrator at Guardian Angel says the former nuns' home seemed ideal, "We had this beautiful rectory, well built, 7000 square feet, that we turned into a homeless shelter."
Crews from 24 different churches worked for the past three months to transform the building and comply with Washington County code requirements. Farrell says as many as 200 people volunteered their time and talents, "It's trite and a cliche, but many hands made a lot less work for all of us."
The building has 6 bedrooms; each room is equipped with beds, a dresser and desk. Farrell says arrangements have been made with Washington County Schools to pick up children at the building, and bring them back at the end of the day for as long as families are guests according to Farrell, "They're tell us around two weeks is average, some might stay four, some may be out in a week but the average is two weeks."
After three months of work and preparation, the building will open its doors on Labor Day, and on its first night is expected to be full.