After searching for more than five years, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, located and purchased a vacant building in Lorain to serve as a new home for the St. Joseph Overnight Shelter and the Family Center of Lorain.
Carolyn Schuemann, associate director and chief financial officer, Diocese of Cleveland Facilities Services Corp., said the building previously housed the Polish American Citizens Club at East 28th Street and Caroline Avenue in Lorain. Renovation cost for the three-story brick building is $1.5 million. A $687,500 Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati was secured to help finance the project.
Carolyn said drawings and applications for permits were submitted to the city in late November, as soon as the grant was awarded. Permits likely will be issued in early January, with work beginning by the middle of the month. “We expect it will take four to six months to complete the project and hope to open the new facility between June 1 and July 1,” she said.
Currently, 50 men are housed in the shelter that operates seasonally from October through May in a former classroom and on the lower level of the closed St. Joseph Church and School building at 317 W. 15th St. The shelter provides an evening meal, breakfast, shower and laundry facilities for the residents.
The Family Center at 203 W. 8th St., is a day shelter that offers a cold breakfast, hot lunch, food pantry and a variety of social services to clients. It opened in 1984.
Catholic Charities operates both facilities.
Carolyn said services offered at both the shelter and Family Center would be transferred to the new building. The shelter would operate on the main level, with single and bunk beds. The food program and social services would be based in the lower level, with offices and additional social services on the upper level.
“We are excited that this project is moving forward,” Carolyn said, noting it will ensure that these much-needed services continue to be offered in Lorain.