A ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday heralded the opening of the Room In The Inn’s new center for the homeless. Among those in attendance were Mayor Karl Dean and Gov. Phil Bredesen.
“This expansion of the campus leverages public and private dollars not only to benefit the homeless, but the city as a whole,” Mayor Dean said.
The ceremony and ensuing open house celebrated the completion of Phase I of the Inn’s campus expansion project, which represents the finished construction of a 45,000-square-foot facility across from the Inn’s original 20,000-square-foot building.
The new building will accommodate the homeless by offering affordable, separate housing floors so they may live independently. The new building is also designed not only to give the homeless a place to stay, but to help familiarize them with a working environment through the Inn’s multi-classroom learning center for education and job-training programs.
“Despite the fact we are a growing, affluent city, the need for the services that are provided here are more needed than ever,” Dean told the assembled crowd. “This public-private partnership that we celebrate today is a model for offering comprehensive services for the homeless at one site.”
The completion of the Inn’s new building marks the closing of one door and the opening of another: a second phase that consists of renovating the older building, which will house services such as care to those recently discharged from local hospitals, programs for the publicly intoxicated, and additional housing for the chronically homeless.
Room In The Inn is one of the few facilities in the nation offering such a widespread selection of programs to help the homeless successfully reintegrate back into society.
“When people come together and decide there are different ways of looking at things and doing things, and form these kinds of partnerships that this represents, there is no limit to what we can accomplish,” Gov. Bredesen said.
Currently, the Room In The Inn has raised $10.7 million but still needs an additional $1.48 million to cover the remainder of its Phase I construction costs and $1 million for Phase II work. The new Room In The Inn addition is located off 8th Ave. S. at 705 Drexel St.
“Room In The Inn is truly a community inspired and supported effort,” said Father Charles Strobel, founding director of Room In The Inn. “Our new facility would not be possible without the vision, direction and hard work of our staff, volunteers, congregations and many supporters.”