Homeless Shelter Expanding

A homeless shelter in Omaha is making a big move.

In fact, the shelter itself is moving.

With a larger building in the planning stages, this week it's moving into its transitional building, the old St. Mary's Grade School building near 36th and Q.

Residents at the Stephen Center can't say enough good things about the place.

What used to be an old tavern is now a homeless shelter that helps people with drug addiction.

With more than 100 residents though, living spaces are pretty tight.

In addition, the kitchen and dining room could be a little bigger.

Deborah Thomas, one resident, isn't complaining, but says it can be difficult.

“It can be trying at times. You're dealing with people you don't know, and different personalities," she says.

However, soon, they'll have more room to spread out.

This week, staff is moving into a new temporary facility, the old St. Mary's Grade School.

Del Bomberger, CEO of the Stephen Center, is excited about the change.

“The facility never was built for the purpose that we've used it for. We've added on, tacked on, completely run out of space, we can't do a job, we can't treat people like we'd like to treat them essentially,” he says.

Crews are still making some adjustments, but the old high school will be around four times larger.

New bedrooms will be a lot roomier, and some will even have closet space.

There are also some bonuses like a gymnasium.

For residents like Thomas, she says the Stephen Center has already done a lot for her, but she is excited about the new opportunities.

“Hopefully, with a little more room, you won't have to hear anybody snore," she laughs.

During the 14 month transition at the high school, the Stephen Center will be building a new $10 million facility, around seven times larger than the original one.

It will also feature 62 apartments for those with low income needs.

The Stephen Center finishes moving into the school Friday.

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