The 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.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held in October 2005, and in February 2006, 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.
St. Paul’s Center 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.
Each year, between 240 and 360 mothers and children walk through our doors!