OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Saint Anne’s has been helping the homeless in Ogden since the 80’s, and the current center is 20 years old – run down and falling apart. However, a new shelter – that will help even more families in need – is about to open.
St. Anne’s has seen a shift in the homeless population since it first opened it’s doors 20 years ago.
“It was really not designed to adequately support the homeless population, it was designed for middle aged males,” said Jennifer Canter, Executive Director for St. Anne’s Center.
And the homeless population is rapidly growing.
“Over the past 5 or 6 years we have seen such a dramatic shift in homelessness – primarily to families – and we have a very difficult time serving the families and women,” said Canter.
Which has proven to be too much for the current center to handle.
“At our current facility we just don’t have the space to accommodate half the population nor provide the servicesthat are critical to those folks…the building is literally falling in around us,” she said.
Cue in the Lantern House, a new shelter lighting the way for those in need.
“We are so excited to be able to provide a safe place where people can come and feel safe and secure and it provides a lot of dignity and privacy for individuals that come to us,” Canter added.
The new shelter will provide safe shelter for about 350 people each day, their new kitchen will feed 250 people at a single time. The new ‘house’ will also provide families with services to get back on their feet.
“this new facility will allow us and our staff to work very hard at helping these individuals and help them recover very quickly so, they’re back in the community living productive lives,” she said.
The project began in 2008 when the city provided St. Anne’s with a 5 acre lot to build the facility. However, the facility required $7 million dollars to build. Through fundraising efforts they were able to meet much of their goal. However, with the grand opening of the Lantern House set for the beginning of July, they are still short of their goal.