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New center for the homeless opens its doors in Bridgeport

William Rodrigues
/
WSHU

The new location of the Thomas Merton Family Center held its grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday. The newly built center aims to provide essential services to the homeless including hot meals, health care and job training.

The Merton Center is a program of the Catholic Charities of Fairfield County which has been providing services to residents since 1916.

"This new facility will not only help all of those in need, but for the first time under one roof," Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano said.

"All of the necessary services that will allow them in a holistic and comprehensive way to have all of their needs met one by one, such as health care, mental health counseling, legal assistance, ESL classes, job training, housing assistance, financial education, vocational training and the list goes on," he added.

The construction of the center was funded by donations, with volunteers reportedly raising around $6.5 million in order to help fund the project.

The location was moved from its previous location on Madison Avenue to the new location, which will allow the center to provide additional services to clients.

Michael Donoghue is the executive director of Catholic Charities of Fairfield County. He announced at the ceremony that the old building will be repurposed into affordable housing for the homeless.

"I'm excited to announce that that building is going to be redeveloped into supportive housing for the homeless," Donoghue said. "And it's gonna take a couple of years but we should have at least 50 units of housing for the homeless on that site."

The new Thomas Merton Family Center plans to open its door to the public starting Wednesday, Dec. 6.

Bill Rodrigues is a graduate intern at WSHU.