New House of Mercy location opens

March 20, 2017 11:08 PM

A brand new facility for the House of Mercy opened on Monday, larger than any of the previous shelters Sister Grace Miller has run.

She had been campaigning for this for years, and it only became a reality on Monday.

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Sister Grace Miller started House of Mercy in 1985, and she had no idea she would need or even find a place that could hold 82 beds. That, however, is what can now be found on Ormond Street. 

Sister Grace says it is a miracle. Homeless person Shyquain Woods, meanwhile, is thankful.

"When I first got kicked out of my home with my mom, I had nowhere to go," she says, "The House of Mercy was my first choice." 

Woods has had a long history with homelessness and shelters. All of her experiences have not been good ones. She didn't think she would ever stay in a brand new place like the new House of Mercy.

"It's more dignified and more personal to me, because at least I have my own space," she says.

Sister Grace started for a new homeless shelter three years ago, when the county stopped homeless people from sleeping in the Civic Center garage.

"We looked at over 41 buildings and found this one," she says.

"A homeless person found it and a generous donor paid for it. So once we had it, we could start making plans. So some business people came forth and said 'we want to make this happen.' So this is a miracle happening today." 

Izel Mitchell, another homeless person staying at the House of Mercy, was full of praise:

"I've never seen anything better than this before... it's like a five star restaurant. Amazing" 

According to its Facebook, the House of Mercy serves 4,000 people a month as a homeless shelter and during the day as an advocacy center. However, Sister Grace thinks that is only taking care of what she says is only half of the homeless population of Rochester. 


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