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Fenn Street Homeless Shelter Expected to Open in Spring
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
04:49PM / Tuesday, January 17, 2023
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The homeless shelter at First United Methodist Church has been in the planning stages since 2020.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — After several years of anticipation, the First United Methodist Church's homeless shelter is set to open in the spring.

Director of Community Development Justine Dodds last Wednesday reported that demolition has been completed and construction is underway. From the road, not much can be seen as the changes are occurring inside.

"The construction work will be completed by March 31. Then there will be painting, flooring, and furniture to be set up," she wrote in an email.

"ServiceNet anticipates to be in the site by the end of April."

The Fenn Street Emergency Shelter located in the church has been in the planning process since 2020 when its location was approved. It will replace the shelter at the former St. Joseph's High School that is operated by ServiceNet.

In the 6,000-square-foot layout, there will be up to 45 beds, meeting rooms, common areas, bathrooms with showers, and access to a fully upgraded commercial kitchen and dining area of approximately 3,000 square feet.

Around this time two years ago, planners hoped to welcome people into the new shelter in April 2021. It was originally aimed to open early that year but regulatory delay and the onslaught of the COVID-19 surge slowed the process.

In July, $354,500 of American Rescue Plan Act funds were allocated for the shelter. The total cost will be more than $900,000 and is also supported by a $200,000 earmark from the state and a $200,00 contribution from the city through Community Development Block Grants.

Located on Fenn Street, the shelter will be in a central location that is right next to City Hall and other resources. It will be operated by ServiceNet, which has been running the St. Joseph's shelter that opened in 2020 when homelessness was exacerbated by the pandemic.

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