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Mission Minutes 2020: Sheltering the Homeless

Mission Minutes 2020: Sheltering the Homeless
Allison Davis

St. Paul’s, Englewood had a run-down sexton’s apartment that for years had been used for storage. The parish had the vision to partner with Family Promise of Bergen County and transform it into a modern home for a homeless woman and her three children. Here’s their story. (Time: 2:56.)

Video Transcript

Gary Mason, Member: About five or six years ago we had what's called the sexton's apartment. The apartment was just there. We had rented it out to one of our congregants for a while and it wound up just being a place where we were just storing stuff. And one day I went to the warden, Pat O'Neill and I said, "Pat, you know Family Promise is looking for transitional apartments. Could we possibly use this apartment upstairs?" And he thought about it, and he said, "Yeah it's a great idea."

Kate Duggan, Executive Director, Family Promise: So we were blessed when Gary Mason from St. Paul's reached out to us and told us that there was an apartment on site that he thought might be suitable for one of the homeless families that we work with. So Paul Shackford and I came over and looked at the space. It was a two-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and a bath and it needed a considerable amount of work, but we felt that the church had the spirit to make the partnership work, and it would certainly be a godsend to a homeless family and so we proceeded to plan and execute this endeavor.

Paul Shackford, President, Family Promise: When I looked at it the first time I called it the room of forgotten things, but it was a beautiful place and it was an opportunity for us to raise the funds and get the volunteers to do the work to completely renovate it for a family. I don't know of any church that is not looking to find ways to expand their ministry. Many churches try to do this through helping those who are homeless or hungry. So what we did is we raised the funds in order to take an existing space that the church didn't have the funds to fix. So we raised over $25,000 and fixed this and made it into a beautiful place. This church is changing the lives of a mom and her three kids who moved in here in July. They are thrilled, they're doing so well because they have a stable place to live. Churches I think throughout our diocese have those opportunities.