LORAIN — Homeless people will have a new shelter in Lorain in the fall.
The Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday approved Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Cleveland’s relocation from the St. Joseph Overnight Homeless Shelter, 317 W. 15th St., to the former Horizon Daycare center at 205 W. 14th St.
The approval came with conditions that previously stalled the move, Mayor Chase Ritenauer said.
He said Catholic Charities will invest $350,000 to $400,000 to upgrade the building and ensure it meets fire codes. The St. Joseph shelter, formerly St. Joseph Church, lacks a sprinkler system, in violation of Lorain’s fire code.
After threatening to close the shelter — open from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. from late October through April — Ritenauer worked out an agreement that will allow the shelter to remain open through April 4.
Ritenauer said the other conditions are that the Lorain Family Center, a food pantry and community center run by Catholic Charities at 203 W. Eighth St., eventually consolidate at the new shelter and Lorain and Catholic Charities reach a permanent zoning agreement. Catholic Charities has received temporary zoning approvals for the St. Joseph shelter in recent years.
A permanent agreement, which Ritenauer said he hopes will be reached in the next several months, would prevent changes under a new mayoral administration or with new zoning board members.
“There’s a desire on both sides to have some permanence to this situation,” Ritenauer said.
Ritenauer said the consolidation will allow the center to be zoned for business purposes and may reduce complaints about loitering by center clients. Deacon Lou Maldonado, shelter director, said consolidation would make it more convenient for clients who use the center and shelter.
Maldonado said he hopes the new shelter will open in October, but is uncertain if female residents will immediately be housed there. The St. Joseph shelter has 50 beds for men and 16 for women or their children.
Maldonado said he was happy with the agreement.
“I’m glad we are able to continue because there are many people in need,” he said.