SIREN RibbonThomas Eveland took a moment Tuesday, Dec. 10 to reflect on the humble beginnings of SIREN/Eaton Shelter. He was asked 24 years ago by then director, Nancy Oliver to chair an advisory board for the county’s new shelter.

The decision to take her up on that offer is one he looked back on with pride as he welcomed community members to tour SIREN/Eaton Shelter’s new facility during a special open house Tuesday night.

“The Shelter and this SIREN group have done wonderful things for the community,” Eveland said. “I couldn’t have imagined where we’d end up when we started this endeavor 24 years ago.”

SIREN moved Oct. 16 from its longtime home inside the Masonic Temple in downtown Charlotte to a larger, more well suited location at 520 Robinson Street (behind Outshiner Car Wash). Now settled, staff showcased how the space will improve services to the homeless and survivors of domestic abuse.

The new location provides a tremendous increase in usable space for the local non-profit. More importantly, however, is the added privacy for family intakes and the handicap accessibility, said SIREN/Eaton Shelter director, Jessica Edel.

“We’re really excited about the new space,” Edel said. “There is much more of a welcoming feeling when clients walk through our door.”

More than 2,000 clients come through SIREN’s doors each year. Edel said the Shelter provides housing for nearly 600 people each year. She said the new location will help save the organization nearly $13,000 annually since many of its services will be consolidated under one roof, including its Christmas room, which opens on site for the first time next week.

“We’ve received so many cuts this year that those savings will allow us to maintain our current level of services,” Edel said.

Another benefit that SIREN hopes to see with the move is rental income. The agency would like to rent out the 3,600 square foot warehouse space that is attached to the building.

Anyone looking to volunteer or interested in leasing the warehouse space should contact Christy Long at (517) 543-0748.