As the predecessor of the Windham Hospital and then as St. Joseph Home for the Aged, our building has long served as a facility which cares for people. Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of the Church operated a nursing school and hospital at this location, and now they continue their work here by operating a shelter for homeless families.
When it first housed homeless families in 1989, the shelter was then known as St. Joseph Shelter. Later the name was changed to Holy Family Home and Shelter,Inc. Since February 1989 more than 1600 other families have also been given shelter here. Most of our residents have been children ranging in age from new born to age 18.
Today Holy Family Home and Shelter, Inc. is a bustling place which is able to give shelter to about 28 people at a time and to which come many volunteers, student interns, and workers from other agencies. Today the shelter is a shelter for families and at times a learning lab for UCONN and Eastern Connecticut State University students.
Where once a few sisters worked around the clock, today paid staff facilitate service plans, a formal budgeting program, life skills workshops, case management, housing searches, and referrals to other community services. A cornerstone of shelter services is our education program which is overseen by an education coordinator. The education program began in August 1993 and continues today with its after school homework sessions, preschool activities, field trips, summer programs, and special events.
Holy Family Home and Shelter, Inc. (HFHS) has participated for several years in the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), which is sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. The program follows national guidelines for foods to be served to children for good nutrition.
In June 2005 HFHS began its first supportive housing program, Homes Plus, which is funded by HUD for 6 families and 4 individuals. Drawing from the homeless population in our community, Homes Plus offers case management and housing subsidies to those with special needs.
Over the years HFHS has joined with other agencies in our community and across the State of Connecticut in addressing the many issues associated with homeless families. Today HFHS staff are members of the Community Assistance Network (CAN) in Windham, the Windham Continuum of Care, and NANC. On a regional and State level HFHS staff are active in the HUD mandated Homeless Management Information System(HMIS).