Ministry to Camden’s homeless acquires new site
Catholic Star Herald | Thursday 12 September 2013
In the short time it has been open, offering hospitality to Camden's homeless population, Joseph's House has seen more than 1,000 come through its doors.
The ministry has now acquired a new home, a building at 555 Atlantic Ave., Camden. The building is located just one block from the Atlantic Avenue exit of Route 676 and has a fenced parking lot that can accommodate 20 cars.
"Once renovated, this building will become the home of our Café Program. We will be able to welcome more guests, increasing our capacity from 40 per night to 75," said John Klein, executive director.
"We'll also be able to offer a more dignified overnight stay," he added. "Rather than a chair or floor space, we will provide our guests with individual cots or mats."
Klein said the move is a "huge undertaking" but promises to be a "huge blessing." He said several major donors have contributed to the move and expansion, and an appeal is underway to raise the remaining funds. The total cost is estimated at $1,145,000, and the organization has raised or received pledges for $900,000.
The goal is to complete the restoration by the end of November and open on Dec. 1.
Joseph's House began its ministry to those struggling with homelessness in Camden, at its current location, 20 Church Street in Camden, on Jan. 26, 2011. It is currently the only walk-up, drop-in nightly shelter available to people experiencing homelessness in Camden. Many of its clients have since been able to move out of homelessness, Klein said.
Klein noted, with obvious gratitude, that over the years Joseph's House has been "blessed" with more than 100 volunteers who have donated over 1,500 hours of service. Countless meals have been donated and several organizations have offered support.
He said future plans included a Day Services Program which will ramp up slowly but will eventually offer case management, employment services and possibly a health clinic. "What a blessing it will be to offer needed daytime services to our overnight guests. And what promise that holds for their happiness and greater independence," he said. "Now we have the opportunity to step out in faith and offer even more services."
For information about Joseph's House, or to volunteer or send a contribution, contact John Klein at email@example.com or call 856-246-1087.