Mount Vernon News

By Mount Vernon News
March 12, 2012 10:57 am EDT


MOUNT VERNON — Thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County and the generosity of Mark and Denise Ramser, the Winter Sanctuary will be able to provide emergency shelter to homeless women and children in a permanent space. Women and children currently needing shelter have to be housed in hotels or motels.


Regarding Monday’s 1a story about the Winter Shelter, renovations and upgrades to the new building are estimated to cost $160,000, according to director Karl Stevens. About half of that amount has already been raised.

“That’s not an ideal situation,” said Karl Stevens, president of the Winter Sanctuary’s board of directors. “We want to be helpful to them in more ways than just simply giving them a roof over their heads.”

The new shelter will be located in a garage at the old Grohe Funeral Home at 108 N. Main Street. The building does need extensive renovations, including a new roof. Overall project costs are estimated to be approximately $240,000. Stevens said half of the funds have already been raised, but another $120,000 will need to be obtained to make it suitable for housing women and children.

At the moment it will still be a winter shelter, open from November through April, and be open in the evenings. Because the Sanctuary is currently manned by volunteers, Stevens hopes to secure enough money to hire staff to keep the new facility open 24/7.

Sam Barone, executive director of the Community Foundation, said the board was honored to provide a grant to an organization that touches so many lives.

“The Winter Sanctuary is the kind of project that makes foundation board members wish they had even more grant dollars to share,” he said.

For now, the men’s winter sanctuary will remain at the St. Paul Episcopal Church Parish House.

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Contact Pamela Schehl

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