Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland is working to transform a vacant building into a multi-service shelter to better aid the homeless population in Lorain County.
According to Melissa Sirak, the Director of Emergency Assistance Services at Catholic Charities, the current shelter gets overcrowded, especially in the winter.
She said many who come in, have underlying issues, whether it's drug abuse, being victims of domestic violence or being developmentally disabled.
The new St. Elizabeth Center is supposed to help streamline the process for them, offering more than just the basics.
Sirak said the three-story building will house a diverse population.
“The need in Lorain is great, you have the underemployed, the unemployed, the working poor,” she said.
Construction workers have already begun renovating the former Polish American Citizen's Club building on Caroline Avenue
Jared Perez, the Program Administrator at the St. Joseph Overnight Shelter said each person who comes through their doors will have a case manager.
“That caseworker will sit down with an individual, do an intake process, identify any of the issues or barriers that are going on, and then work on them with a goal plan,” he said.
The 14,000-square foot, three-story building will house 50 beds for men-only, have a kitchen, pantry, office and meetings rooms.
“They will be able to receive food, a safe haven for overnight shelter, and not have to go anywhere else,” said Sirak.
Offering more than just meals and a roof over their heads, the new multi-purpose shelter will focus on holistic needs, emotional, mental, spiritual and educational help.
Leaders of Catholic Charities called it a one-stop shop for those in need. They hope to open by August.
The goal is to get people in need the proper tools and skill sets, so they can stand on their own two feet again. This project is expected to cost $1.5 million.