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 bedding on cold nights into a leader in finding solutions that permanently end and prevent homelessness. Our comprehensive services meet the immediate needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness; our continuum of essential programs and ongoing support help them work toward permanent homes where adults are stable and children can grow and thrive. We are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and serve more than 600 children, women, and men each year.
In 2020, we completed the extensive New Heights redevelopment of our property, including our purpose-built Emergency Residential Shelter, David’s Place day shelter, ten Permanent Supportive Housing units, and eighty-seven affordable housing units owned and managed by our partner, Alexandria Housing Development Corporation. Our new building will provide the infrastructure for Carpenter’s Shelter to meet community needs for decades to come.