“Housing is a fundamental need…Without shelter, everything else falls apart.” (Matthew Desmond in his book, Evicted).
In 2014, Second Church was approached by an organization called St. Louis Winter Outreach, asking if we would participate in their efforts to “house previously unhoused individuals in small communal settings where each person is treated with dignity and respect.”* This effort grew into the opening of six houses, called Assisi Houses, one each year. Initially, the house is a shelter, a place to leave belongings, and a hot meal and bed to return to each evening, all through the winter months. Once spring arrives, the house transitions into affordable community housing for those who need this.
2PC has been a part of all of this, from donating blankets and furniture to rehabbing buildings which will become Assisi Houses, to offering evening meals once a week over the four winter months.
We have had help in funding for this mission from Webster Groves Presbyterian Church through their Comfort Trust.
See Assisi’s website (below) for pictures of the houses and more information on this wonderful mission.
Assisi House History
ASSISI HOUSE 5
In the fifth iteration of Assisi House, 20 men will stay in a building in south St. Louis city, near Utah and South Grand by St. Pius V Catholic Church.
As in years past, donations of household items, warm clothing, volunteer time, and weekly meals will be provided by Second members and friends.
ASSISI HOUSE 4
The fourth Assisi House, located in Baden in an old convent, connected to Our Lady of the Holy Cross Catholic Church.
Year 4 was the second year that the shelter served women.
Several women stayed on at the home at the end of winter, and remain there today until they are ready to move on.
ASSISI HOUSE 3
The location for Assisi House 3 – 1500 Salisbury Avenue in Hyde Park – started as the 2nd and 3rd floors of an old commercial building. The space was completely gutted and all new rooms have been built. Sixteen women moved into the residence on November 12th, and at the end of the cold winter months, ten women stayed on to establish a permanent residence.
The building owner, Gateway Housing First, has promised to indefinitely subsidize the womens’ stay and insisted that “this is your home until you find housing.”
ASSISI HOUSE 2
Assisi House 2 opened on Spring Avenue, near North Grand and North Market, in November 2015. Gently used furniture and other items were donated by several Second members and friends.
For their first meal this year, Second volunteers provided Thanksgiving dinner for the 18 men staying at the house.
As spring approached, the building was renovated to provide for private rooms for the 8 men who remain and pay a modest rent at this permanent supportive community.
ASSISI HOUSE 1
The first Assisi House opened in an old convent near Kingshighway and Highway 70. Twenty-five men called in home for several months (November thru mid-March). Volunteers provided Thursday night dinners and Friday morning breakfasts. As spring arrived, 13 men remained at the house, paying rent and and managing the day-to-day operations of their home. Volunteers provided a monthly meal to catch up with the men and provide assistance as needed.
In October 2015, the cooking team prepared the last meal for the men of the first Assisi House. Most of the men have found jobs and are able to pay rent. A few have moved on to other stable housing.