Open house for Pine Street homeless center to be held Thursday

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WATERTOWN — With temperatures plummeting on recent nights, homeless men will soon have a temporary housing facility to stay in on Pine Street so they can get out of the cold.

Transitional Living of Northern New York is putting the final touches on the facility in the former Angel’s Inn at 518 Pine St. before it opens.

Neighbors, local officials and the homeless will gather this afternoon to take a tour of the new facility. The open house will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Transitional Living has not picked out a specific date for the facility’s opening yet as it continues to fill the 7-person staff.

The facility will not be a homeless shelter but a temporary home for up to 18 houseless men.

On Wednesday, all the rooms have been outfitted with furniture, except the kitchen which is waiting for Transitional Living to work out the purchasing of a dining room for the facility’s kitchen.

“The place is ready to go,” Transitional Living Services Executive Director Maureen P. Cean said.

The former adult home was completely renovated. During a tour on Wednesday, the smell of the painted walls filled the new single-room occupancy facility. Only men, predominately the homeless population, will be able to stay there, but Transitional Living will look at the issue in the future of women staying there, too, Ms. Cean said.

Security cameras will keep an eye on the residents in case of any issues that might arise, she said. The facility will be staffed 24 hours a day.

Neighbors were up in arms about the facility opening on Pine Street. A petition to stop circulated. The city could not stop the center because it has correct zoning.

“We didn’t hear a peep after the petition,” Ms. Cean said.

The dorm-style beds were donated by Fort Drum, while a local hotel sent its used furniture to the facility.

The large community room in the former adult home features a leather couch, love seat and comfy chair, a big screen TV, a desk and a small table. Throw rugs will be added to give the place a more homey touch.

Residents will prepare their own food and do their laundry. Transitional Living will provide counseling for drug addiction and mental health issues. Group sessions also will be held for the residents.

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