Coeur d'Alene-based St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho has leased the former Coeur d'Alene Public Library and says it and other social-service providers are moving into the 13,000-square-foot structure.
The agencies plan to collaborate in a one-stop center to provide aid to homeless people and those on the verge of becoming homeless.
St. Vincent's social services department will occupy about 3,000 square feet of floor space on the main floor of the two-level building, at 202 E. Harrison north of downtown Coeur d'Alene, says Matt Hutchinson, the department's social services director.
The move into the structure, which has been renamed the Helping Empower Local People (HELP) Center, began in late June and is expected to be completed early this month, he says.
St. Vincent's has leased the building from the city of Coeur d'Alene for $1,500 a month, which is less than half of its market value, and other social-service providers will pay shares of the rent, Hutchinson says.
Project Safe Place, another nonprofit that provides a drop-in center and services for youths in crisis will occupy the building's 3,000-square-foot basement.
The HELP Center also will house caseworkers from the Idaho state Department of Health and Welfare, the Idaho state Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a community health clinic, food programs, a parenting skills program, and child-advocacy services, Hutchinson says.
The center will be a vital component in the city's recently announced 10-year plan to end homelessness, Hutchinson says.
"We're trying to serve people in precarious positions effectively and create plans under one umbrella to help them," he says.
St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho is the Coeur d'Alene-based chapteror conferenceof the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an international charitable organization run by Roman Catholic laymen and women.
It has more than 60 employees, and last year helped more than 1,700 homeless people in Kootenai County, Hutchinson says.
Three of the nonprofit's administrative employees will move to the building on Harrison from small offices in the nonprofit's Coeur d'Alene thrift store, at 108 E. Walnut, he says.
St. Vincent's also operates a thrift store in Post Falls.
It owns 211 low-income apartment units, 42 transitional-housingunits, and 29 emergency-shelter beds.
Thebuilding on Harrison has been vacant since the Coeur d'Alene Public Library moved to its current building on Front Street at the east edge of downtown Coeur d'Alene two years ago.
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