The Open Door Mission is another step closer to its goal of providing transitional housing to Rochester's homeless women and children.
The Christian faith-based organization has closed on the purchase of a 5,000 square foot building, a former convent on the Holy Ghost Church campus at 250 Coldwater Road in Gates. It will house up to five to six families, or a total of 20 people, when it's expected to open sometime in the next 12 months.
"We're really trying to respond to the issue of the 2,000 - 2,300 kids last year within the Rochester City School District who are described as homeless by the Department of Education, but not by HUD, because they may be couch-surfing and are not without a roof,” said ODM executive director Mike Hennessy. “But we know they're in crisis, and the kids are generally not in school. These are the kids we're trying to have an impact on."
The women and children who enter the program will live in a family-style setting where they prepare meals together and live in adjoining apartments.
After the residents work through what Hennessy describes as the “crisis stage”, caseworkers will help the women identify and develop skills so they can find work, and prepare the children to return to school.
"And then what we hope to do is, through some favored landlords at first, find an independent living situation for them somewhere close to us, and then we will work with them, with case management for up to two years after that to make sure that they remain on course," he said.
The Open Door Mission was able to purchase the building for $210,000 with the help of some donors.
A quiet fundraising campaign is ongoing to fund renovations and operating costs for the first couple of years. A public campaign will be launched in the spring.