In 2015, Second joined a mission coalition with St. Louis Winter Outreach and other organizations to create a new concept in St. Louis for homeless outreach.
Assisi Houses are established as single-gender permanent shelters through the months of December to March for a set number of individuals selected by a team of people. Members of this team also work to hire supportive overnight staff, facilitate house group sessions, and assess guests throughout their stay. Groups from several non-profit organizations renovate and update the selected space, and gathere donations of beds, blankets, furniture, and appliances from their congregations, families, and friends. At the end of March, the Assisi House switches to semi-permanent housing and the number of residents is halved.
Our guests/tenants begin to pay a small amount of rent to offset the cost of utilities, maintenance, and cost of the building. These guests/tenants may continue to stay in housing as long as they are able to keep up rent and follow the community rules of the house.
Instead of a shelter with a transient population, the guests come home every night to their own beds, reliable utilities, and a hot meal made by caring, nurturing hands. Church teams provide evening meals on a rotating weekly schedule (Thursday evenings for Second).
With funding from our congregation and generous grants from Webster Groves Presbyterian Church (through their Comfort Trust), Second has provided weekly meals to the guests for the past four years, and is in the process of helping establish the 5th Assisi House in St. Louis for Winter 2018-2019.
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.