Rochester’s REACH homeless shelter to close soon
By: David Riley
Steve Richmond checked out of a hospital about five weeks ago with nowhere to go.
By April, he’ll have his own one-bedroom apartment if all goes according to plan, ending nearly three years without a steady home — staying in relatives’ spare rooms, then in a men’s shelter, then in a hospital bed.
He started building his turnaround at REACH Home, a temporary homeless shelter that a coalition of volunteers, churches and civic groups opened in November in Rochester. Richmond has been working closely with Nicholas Coulter, a social worker at the shelter, since early February.
“It’s a phenomenal way to get started if you’re coming from where I’m coming from,” said Richmond, 35. “They’ll snatch you right up and start working with you.”
Soon, the shelter that helped Richmond get back on his feet will close for good.
The facility in a former church rectory on Prince Street was intended to be temporary — a bridge to a permanent shelter that House of Mercy plans to open in the fall on Ormond Street, just east of Rochester’s Amtrak station. The temporary shelter’s lease ends April 15, with the possibility of an extension through May.
Advocates who opened the facility say it accomplished a lot in just four or five months.
Roughly 30 percent to 40 percent of people who stayed there on a long-term basis have been placed in long-term housing, said Coulter, who co-founded one of two nonprofits that provide social workers at the shelter. That count doesn’t include people who stayed for just a night or two before moving on.