MOUNT VERNON — Cold weather has come early this year and with it a heightened need for shelter for the homeless.
The Winter Sanctuary at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church opened Nov. 8 at the church’s parish house offering shelter to women and children and on Nov. 18 for men in the basement of the church.
Winter Sanctuary has been a great success according to Sally Parsons of the housing project. It has given not just shelter to those who need it but a hand up to many who have stayed there.
“Things have been going pretty well,” she said. “We had wanted to get a separate building for the women and children but that has fallen thorough. So, we have the women and children in the parish house and the men in the basement of the church.”
The motto of the Winter Sanctuary is “It’s a hand up, not a hand out” and it has seen success at achieving that goal.
The project aims to accomplish more than just offering a cot in a warm place overnight. It offers the homeless/jobless a chance to get back on their feet.
“We’ve had two of the families with children that I know of get apartments or places to stay,” Parsons said. “Some of the women who’ve stayed with us have gotten jobs. One is a state-tested nursing aide. She went to three nursing facilities and all three of them had an opening for her.