A community shelter has reopened after a devastating fire forced it to close last year. 

Saint Patrick Haven provides shelter and services for homeless men.

The local shelter has been serving Erie’s homeless community since 1984 and this incident has not set them back from completing their mission.

In September of last year, Saint Patrick Haven had to shut down their operations due to a fire.

The cause was ruled accidental, and nobody was injured but the shelter was heavily damaged.

“The actual damage was smoke and water, which totally inundated the entire building,” said Sister Carol Morehouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph.

During that time, other organizations, provided alternative accommodation for homeless men in need.

“Once the fire happened, Betsy, who was the executive director at the time, and I were sitting on that bench… outside, saying ‘what are we going to do?’ We now have 23 guys that don’t have a place to be,” Sister Morehouse said.

Sister Morehouse said within 24 hours the Mental Health Association offered the lower level of their building for the shelter to continue their operations.

Saint Patrick has been undergoing renovations, and reopened for guests on July 19.

The executive director told us they’ve included new safety measures to prevent something like last year’s fire from happening again.

“We also upgraded our security system, installing cameras and a high-tech fire alarm that notifies the fire department should an alarm be set off,” said Shelby Folga, executive director of St. Patrick Haven. “It creates a warm, welcoming environment that allows these men to feel safe to open up, not only to our managers, who are rehabilitated homeless men, but to each other.”

Folga said St. Patrick strives to treat each guest with respect and dignity and she’s honored to continue to serve the community.