On Saturday, a group of young adults from Charis and Old St. Pat's went to the Franciscan House of Mary and Joseph to help clean up the shelter. I've been there for a Service Day in the past, but the thing that always strikes me when I first walk in is the sheer number of beds that they have in a single room. Every night, nearly 170 men sleep in the transitional dorm and another 40 or so sleep in the room for the regulars. The women's dorm houses 37 each night.
During our time there, we swept and mopped each of the dorms, moving beds out of the way to give a thorough cleaning. The dorm that houses the regulars is for those who have a job or who are working with a case worker to improve their situation and eventually move into their own apartments. Everything that these people have is neatly on or under their beds. You can really tell what the guests value by what they choose to keep in this limited space.
One of the things that I learned on Saturday was that the Franciscan House turns more people away each night during the summer than in the winter. I assumed that the opposite would be the case, but the Franciscan House is one of the few year round shelters in the city. Most shelters are just open for the winter.
The Franciscan Outreach Association who runs the shelter is a wonderful ministry that provides many services for the homeless in our community. If you're looking for a way to get involved and serve Jesus through the least of our brothers and sisters, check out what they provide.