St. John is the smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, which are located in the Caribbean Sea. We have a population of over 4,000 people. This being said, our homeless population is increasing daily on the island.
The need for the less fortunate was very obvious and so as a parish we came together to serve breakfast and lunch daily. A shower was eventually built, and we began collecting clothes for them. A washer and dryer were subsequently donated. The parish eventually began working closely with Catholic Charities.
As a result of the increase of our homeless population, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Cruz Bay saw the urgent need for a shelter and with the help of two stateside couples was able to open this shelter.
Our Lady of Charity Shelter was opened in March of 2020. We housed seven men at its opening. Three were senior citizens, one confined to a wheelchair and two who were struggling with substance abuse.
We have had two of the residents transitioned back to their families in the mainland and one who has transitioned to his own apartment back to living a life of independence.
The house is currently divided into two sections with accommodation for the homeless women in our population.
There’s no better feeling than to know that you have a place that you can call home.
Presently, we are housing 5 males and 2 females. Because of the great need we are always at capacity at the house.
The running of the shelter from its inception has only been through donations. We are asking for your prayer and financial support in any way that you can. It will be greatly appreciated.
The house is structured to give hope to our brothers and sisters who have fallen by the wayside. We are looking at the human person as a whole. As a result, we are providing counseling to each individual and also ensuring that their spiritual needs are met.
Our goal is to provide a place for our brothers and sisters to call home and to one day eradicate homelessness on St. John.
Deacon Evans Doway