St. Benedict's Homeless Shelter released more details Tuesday about its new daytime facility at Ninth Street and Hickman Avenue and announced plans to expand its West Seventh Street men's unit to an around-the-clock operation.
The new 2,700-square-foot facility at 905 Hickman Ave. will be named St. Benedict's Women & Family Services. If all goes as planned, that day shelter may open as early as Nov. 1, said Harry Pedigo, executive director at St. Benedict's.
The new facility will serve women, children and families. It will provide showers, laundry facilities, computers, specialized case management, life skills classes, and referrals for substance abuse and mental health, to name some services. St. Benedict’s Women & Family Services unit will open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
In addition, Pedigo hopes to expand the facility's mission to provide overnight stays for single women within a year after opening. The community has a gap in emergency housing services for single women, he said.
The new facility was developed through a partnership between St. Benedict's, Audubon Area Community Services and Kentucky Legend, which chose St. Benedict's as the company's Revitalizing Owensboro organization this year.
At the Hickman Avenue facility, AACS will provide services, including health care, housing and screenings for Head Start.
Data collection will be an important component of the new St. Benedict's unit, Pedigo said. That information will uncover community needs so they can be addressed.
"We're focusing on those who are at risk," he said. "Prevention is key."
Within the next month, St. Benedict's expects to hire a new director of special initiatives. The primary focus of that position will be special projects, vulnerable populations and the nonprofit's ministries.
"Outreach is a big component of aiding and preventing homelessness," Pedigo said.
St. Benedict's collaborates with organizations and shelters across Daviess County. "These men and women can't form these relationships. We can. We know relationships heal," he said.
Presently, St. Benedict's Homeless Shelter on West Seventh Street is open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. When the Hickman Avenue facility opens, Pedigo plans to make the men's unit a full-time shelter.
That move will allow its residents to work third-shift jobs. Taking an all-night job has not been an option because the shelter is not open for sleeping or gathering during the day.
St. Benedict's will buy room dividers to partition off an area for those who sleep during the day.
Others who choose to remain at the facility during the day must attend classes, perform chores or be involved in other productive activities. However, it is important to give them a place to get out of the weather during daytime hours, Pedigo said.
The shelter does not plan to serve lunch because other facilities nearby, such as the Daniel Pitino Shelter, fill that need.
Sixty-five percent of St. Benedict's clients work. The remainder draw disability, are applying for disability or are looking for work.
Last year, the facility served more than 500 men. The average stay was 30 days.
For quite some time, one of St. Benedict's goals was to partner with AACS. Serving the whole population -- not just men -- is imperative, Pedigo said, because gaps in services exist. He is excited about the prospects of collaborating with AACS to improve outcomes for families.
On Tuesday, Pedigo also credited St. Benedict’s faithful donors for the upcoming expansion in services. Expanded services will increase expenses, he said, but that shouldn’t deter the shelter’s mission of offering hope to those in need.
"There are two things we know," Pedigo said. "God is faithful, and our supporters know they are investing in people."
Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, email@example.com