OWATONNA – A month after opening the doors of its new location to its residents, Owatonna’s Hospitality House is ready to open the doors to community members.
Hospitality House is a temporary shelter for men who are transitioning through homelessness. Last month, the shelter moved from its former State Avenue location to its new house on the corner of Grove Avenue and Main Street.
From 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, the Owatonna Hospitality House will hold an open house for people to see the inside of its new location at 250 East Main St.
“We just want to thank the community for helping us get this house,” said Hospitality House manager Jolene Sherrets. “So many people helped us buy and furnish this house. People have donated lamps, chairs, dressers and many other things.”
The residents moved into the East Main location on April 28. The new home is larger than the previous location on State Avenue. The extra size includes a kitchen with plenty of room for a table and chairs for the residents.
“Our new home has a kitchen where you can congregate,” Sherrets said. “The last one didn’t really have that. It’s a real nice benefit we didn’t expect.”
In January 2012, less than four years after opening in Owatonna, organization officials deemed the State Avenue location too small.
They quickly picked the former site of Safe Harbour after the assisted living facility moved to the north side of Owatonna. While on State Avenue, Hospitality House paid $600 a month in rent. Rent payments are now a thing of the past. Instead of paying a landlord, the organization raised enough money to purchase a house, located across the street from Washington Elementary School.
The donations came in the form of cash, personal checks and business contributions. They came in amounts as small as $10 and as large as $25,000. And in just 19 days, members of the Hospitality House board found themselves meeting a goal they initially believed would take months to reach.
When the fundraising ended, the Hospitality House raised more than $94,000 to buy the larger facility for $62,000.
The remaining $32,000 will be used for monthly expenses for the shelter, which does not receive government funding.
A resident will stay, on average, for 42 days, Sherrets said. Some stay a single night and some for a few months. The new house will allow for more residents. With the additional space, Hospitality House will look into bunking beds to exceed 13 residents.
Along with getting a tour, community members can also ask questions of Hospitality House staff and residents during Sunday’s tour.
Derek Sullivan can be reached at 444-2372.