Our vision of additional space for families at our Bishop Ott Sweet Dreams Shelter has finally become a reality. Our newly expanded shelter opened this spring and is making a difference by providing shelter to homeless families who have nowhere else to turn. We are now able to help more mothers and children and have also been able to help single-parent fathers with children. This expanded facility and more comprehensive services were made possible by the generosity of so many in our community.
As this newsletter goes to press, we have not yet set a date for an official opening or ribbon-cutting, but that will happen shortly. Our goal has been to get the shelter open, not for the sake of a ceremony or celebration, but for the homeless families we are now able to serve.
We certainly learned a lot during the planning and construction phases of this expansion project, with many unanticipated challenges throughout. In addition, although the expansion of our Sweet Dreams Shelter was the most important part of this project, we also renovated a part of the former men’s shelter dormitory and replaced older roofing. Fortunately, our wonderful staff and board leadership did a great job of dealing with issues as they arose. As new roofs were being constructed, old roofs were waiting to be replaced, broken pipes were repaired, security systems were installed, furniture and appliances were ordered and, as soon as possible, guests were moved in. And best of all: the existing shelter never had to close – not for one day or night.
We are fully up and running, and a lot of people are asking how they can help. The first answer to that question is: keep praying. Pray for those we serve, for our volunteers, and for our staff that works such long hours and deals with so many challenges within this important community program. We also need financial and in-kind support.
Obviously, since we have doubled our capacity, our expenses have doubled as well. Anyone wanting to help homeless families can click here to make a financial contribution online or by mailing a check to us at P.O. Box 127, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Your support will go a long way in helping us to continue our quality shelter services.