The Rescue Mission started a day center in 1973, when it was located in the 800 block of East Washington Street. After opening New York’s first sobering-up unit, it became evident there was a need to provide daytime activities for these men.
The county and state provided money for the program, which was called AIDA, for Aid and Incentive to Debilitated Alcoholics. When the Rescue Mission moved to a new building at 120 Gifford Street in 1976, AIDA was located in a first-floor room just inside the entrance. The program’s name was changed to New Life Day Center in 1983.
Now simply known as the Day Center, it moved to 155 Gifford Street in 1988 when the Rescue Mission purchased the old Gaylord Publishing Company building at Gifford and Granger streets and converted it to the Donald A. Dixon Homeless Intervention Services Center.
Clients passed through here to get to the original 48-bed, then 67-bed emergency shelter. (While shelter admissions will still be done here during the day, we ask that homeless people needing a bed for the night go to the shelter now located at 120 Gifford Street after 5 p.m. The entrance is located off the circle at the start of Gifford Street.)
The Day Center entrance was originally located off Granger Street, a narrow street connecting Gifford and Seymour streets. In September 2000, the Rescue Mission opened a more welcoming and secure entranceway facing Seymour Street that featured a ramp for people who use wheelchairs.
The entrance was built by a company crew that included a former homeless man who used to live in the shelter. After he started working on the project, he approached staff members to identify himself and spark their memories.
“I just wanted to show them that people who come out of the shelter can make something of their lives,” he said.
The Rescue Mission’s front door to hope
The Day Center is the Rescue Mission’s daytime front door to hope. This is the place where people in need can come seven days a week to get a shower, meals, clothing and shelter as well as find employment, housing, God and a better life.
Accessible from Seymour Street, the Day Center primarily serves men but women also come here to get free meal tickets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, use the phones or, if they are living outside, take a needed shower. Homeless or abused women who stop by are referred to appropriate agencies.
As we welcome those who come to our door, it is our hope and prayer concerning their dark and broken lives that a new day will dawn.
The Day Center, open every day from 7 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., offers:
- Clients work with case managers to develop plans for healthy independence
- Access to free clothing, our meal program and emergency shelter, the use of phones and recreation
- Emergency assistance for women who are homeless or abused with referrals made to local shelters or safe houses
- Information on health information and screening as well as Veteran’s information and benefits
- Assistance in finding an apartment and follow-up support
- Mental health support through on-site staff from a local outreach program
- Transportation via our homeless outreach van
- Vocational assistance including resume development, skills assessment and job preparation workshops
- Spiritual guidance
Information: Chance Williams Phone: 315-701-3119
E-mail: Chance Williams