Operators Report Smooth Transition for Hyannis Homeless Shelter

St. Joseph’s House, formerly the NOAH Shelter, in Hyannis.

HYANNIS – The former NOAH Homeless Shelter in Hyannis continues its transition after operations were transferred from Housing Assistance Corporation to Catholic Social Services on November 1st.

The facility, which is now called St. Joseph’s House, is currently at capacity.

Catholic Social Services CEO Arlene McNamee said the transition has gone smoothly while providing an update at last week’s Town Council meeting.

“There was some adjustment on both sides for staff as well as for the guests but we seem to be settling in and it seems to be moving along,” McNamee said.

McNamee said she envisions changes continuing into the future.

“Hopefully, [they] will work to betterment of the guests as well as the betterment of the community,” she said.

Job opportunities were offered to all of the NOAH shelter staff. McNamee said some workers decided to stay on and others did not.

Catholic Social Services has received positive feedback, particularly from Barnstable Police, according to McNamee.

“We’re probably looking at another month of the continued transition period and things kind of settling down, getting through the holidays and also just kind of gearing up for the winter months which can in some ways present some of the greatest challenges,” said Rose Evans, the associate director for the Division of Housing Stabilization at the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Evans said the transition will also focus on the further development of the relationship between HAC and Catholic Social Services.

She said discussions will “really focus on housing and housing efforts and looking at the housing stock and the available housing stock and vacancies.”

The efforts will not just be made in Barnstable and Hyannis but across Cape Cod and the Islands, according to Evans.

Barnstable Town Councilor Paul Hebert said there just isn’t enough beds or housing to take care of the population.

“I think If we are honest about that then we can all work together into the right direction,” Hebert said. “The state has paid attention to us but we desperately need more mental health beds funding as well as for drug addiction.”

After 32 years, HAC agreed to lease the shelter to CSS.

HAC has a contract through the state to run the shelter through June 2017 and the non-profit will transfer most of the funds received from the state to CCS.

The shelter is no longer “dry”, allowing guests to stay without being tested for drugs and alcohol.

CCS operates homeless shelters in Taunton and New Bedford, runs a food pantry and provides counseling and services to families in need.

The organization also operates St. Clare’s, a Hyannis home which provides services and transitional housing for women coming out of prison.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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