concept for the St. Paul's Center
for homeless women and their children began in 2001
when St. Paul's Lutheran
Church in Rensselaer merged
with St. Timothy's Lutheran
Church in North
Greenbush. Faced with the decision of what to do
with a 100 year old building in the inner city, a task
force was formed to study options. After 18
months of extensive research and a visit to
Commissioner John Beaudoin of the Rensselaer County Department
of Social Services, the task force learned that shelter beds for
homeless women and children were the most critical
unmet need in the county. Under
the inspired leadership of Pastor Lee Dyer, the congregation
voted unanimously to donate the building to the project.
The project was
awarded a grant from the State of New York Office of
Temporary and Disability Assistance, Homeless Housing and
Assistance Program to renovate the building into a 19 bed shelter for
women and children.
ceremony was held in October 2005, and in February
2006, the St. Paul’s Center began
operating as a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization
under its own board of directors.
The Center opened
its doors to its first residents on October 2,
2006. It is nonsectarian and offers housing
regardless of race, age, religion, country of origin,
or sexual orientation. Although, the St. Paul’s Center operates
as an independent organization from the congregation that started it,
it enjoys the support of not only the congregation at St. Timothy’s but
also the congregations of churches of all denominations, many
community service groups, local businesses and elected officials.
The Center has become an important link in the homeless services community.