Former Catholic School in Phoenixville Transformed into Transitional Shelter for Women, Their Children

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St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter for Homeless Families.

St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter for Homeless Families recently marked the opening of its new transitional housing unit in Phoenixville with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, writes Matthew Gambino for

This latest shelter marks an important step in helping break the cycle of poverty for women and their children in the area. It is the culmination of a six-year project that repurposed a 160-year-old convent and school building into housing units to help homeless residents achieve independence.

The four families in the transitional home can stay there for up to 18 months. They will rely on a support team consisting of a case manager, social worker, and others.

“We will give them all the support they need to get them back on their feet,” said Sister Bernadette Dougherty, executive director of St. Mary’s. “We hope to help them break the cycle of poverty.”

In addition to the new units, five families continue to utilize the emergency shelter in the former convent for up to eight weeks. They each have a bedroom and share a communal bathroom, living space, and dining room.

Read more about St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter at

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