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7/29/2012 9:43:00 AM
Shelter renovation begins
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Sr. Angel Meister serves food in 2007 at Mission Benedict, a companion ministry to St. Joseph Shelter.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Sr. Angel Meister serves food in 2007 at Mission Benedict, a companion ministry to St. Joseph Shelter.

MOUNT ANGEL — St. Joseph Shelter here has begun major renovation of a building that houses homeless farmworkers. The public attended a blessing ceremony July 31 for the shelter, a ministry of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel.  

The $2.23 million project will convert an old college dormitory — now used to house male migrant farmworkers — into self-contained units that will provide short-term housing for farmworker families.

Construction will begin in August and be completed in late 2012 or early 2013.
Bede Hall will be renamed Casa Adele, in honor of the late Benedictine Sister Adele Mansfield, who was one of the co-founders of the shelter. Sister Adele, who died in 2001, served as the shelter's director from its founding in 1988 until her death.

Funding for the project comes from a variety of public and private sources, including more than $1 million from Oregon Housing and Community Services and the Farmworker Housing Tax Credit Program, $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Rural Innovation Fund, $100,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank, $198,000 from the Meyer Memorial Trust; and $593,000 from the Sisters.

Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation of Oregon, a long-time partner agency of St. Joseph Shelter, has provided technical assistance and coordination throughout the planning, development and pre-construction phases of the project.

CASA, based in Sherwood, builds affordable housing and provides other services and programs.

Scott Edwards Architecture of Portland is designing the building and LMC Construction, based in Beaverton, is general contractor.

St. Mary Sister Marcella Parrish, shelter director, said she is excited about what the project will mean for the shelter and the people it serves. The new facility will be able to house 10 families at a time.

"It's a dream come true," Sister Marcella said. "Sister Adele is certainly directing traffic for us from heaven."

The project is fully funded a year ahead schedule.

Established in 1988, St. Joseph Shelter aims to witness to the dignity of each person. In addition to housing, it offers hot meals, clothing, advocacy and referrals.
It provides more than 23,000 nights of shelter and 18,000 meals each year to homeless families and farmworkers.

Sponsored by the Sisters, it's also supported by Mount Angel Abbey, the Emergency Food & Shelter Program, the Meyer Memorial Trust, Glory Foundation, Catholic Charities, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action, and area churches, individuals, businesses, private foundations and organizations.

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