Carpenter’s Shelter began in 1982 on a cold winter night when Father Tony Casey of Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria found one man sleeping in his car and another asleep in the doorway of the church. Believing that everyone deserves a warm, safe place to sleep at night, Father Casey welcomed the two men into the church and allowed them to spend the night. The next night, the men came back. With the help of two volunteers and ten cots, Father Casey opened the basement of the church to those in need of shelter from harsh winter weather. Blessed Sacrament’s basement provided shelter to those in need during the winter for six years, until the day the building was torn down. With the shelter gone and the demand growing for bed space, a small group of dedicated individuals founded Carpenter’s Shelter in 1988.
Since our inception, Carpenter’s Shelter has evolved from a small group of concerned citizens providing little more than bedding on cold nights in Alexandria churches and warehouses into a leader in finding solutions that permanently end and prevent homelessness. We are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and we served 624 children, women, and men in fiscal year 2021. Today, we offer a 60-bed emergency shelter with case management, education, employment and housing services; a day shelter (David’s Place) that addresses the basic needs of individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness; the City of Alexandria Winter Shelter run from November to April; and a Rapid Re-Housing (RRH) program that continues to support clients who have graduated from the shelter for a minimum of one year. Our comprehensive services meet the immediate needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness while also providing life skills education, employment counseling, and assistance in transitioning to stable, permanent homes.