Renovated St. Joseph facility offers fresh start to families

by Doug Donahoo

The Booth Center in St. Joseph, Mo., was not much of a house for close to a year. Walls were torn down; deep trenches dug through the floor. This place that had served as an emergency shelter for adults was given a new purpose over the course of a year of renovations: to minister to families.

With the work complete, this winter ushered in a new era for the 10-year-old Booth Manor. Gone are the dormitory-style beds with multiple adults sharing one room. Instead, the Booth Center is now home to nine efficiency-style apartments, complete with bedrooms, kitchenettes, a laundry room—and greater purpose.

“Our goal is that every family who comes out of there is self-sufficient. Their families are better. Their lives are better. Their relationships with each other are better,” said Major Ronald Key, corps officer, at the rededication ceremony.

The renovations and direction change came after careful study of the St. Joseph community revealed that there was no shelter to guarantee families struggling with homelessness could stay together. Now, they can. Parents and children, living under one roof, learning how to improve their lives together.

“It’s an incredible vision, and we know we’re going to change lives,” said the major.

Changing lives starts with giving families this new place to live and learn.

Chief Secretary Colonel Steve Howard said it best as he delivered the rededication remarks. “Today we go to this house, this Booth Center, and following the words of Luke 10:5, ‘When you enter a home, first say, “Peace to this house.”’ We pray God’s peace upon this house.”

The first families have moved in and already are starting the transformation process outlined by Major Key to achieve not just financial stability but emotional strength, too.

Home is found anyplace a family gathers together and in St. Joseph that home is named the Booth Center.







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