Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It didn’t take a miracle to turn a condemned house on Genesee Street into a transitional home.
The transformation only required the cooperation of about 40 churches, Habitat for Humanity, Reach Camp, dozens of volunteers and selfless leadership.
Lockport CARES, which operates an emergency shelter on Genesee Street, will conduct a Community Weekend on Friday and Saturday, and special ceremonies Sunday to dedicate Kahler House and Ministry.
The transitional house — built for adult men who need help achieving self sufficiency — is named in memory of Norman E. Kahler Jr., who died April 21. Kahler was president of Lockport CARES.
“I think it’s pretty unique and pretty wonderful,” Executive Director Marty Nagy said of the ecumenical effort. “Lockport CARES, to me, is phenomenal. This isn’t any one church’s domain, or any one person. It belongs to God. These are His houses and His ministry.”
Nagy, who has worked for CARES since before the old house was bought in 2007, was the shelter manager before becoming executive director in December. Chris Yoder moved up from resident manager to shelter manager.
“The hardest part is to see people come in really broken,” the Newfane native said. “The best part is seeing them in housing and with smiles on their faces.”
CARES has been successful. In 2012, 257 people took refuge at the emergency shelter. This year, 81 clients were served over the summer alone.
Residence at the shelter is limited to 10 days. Some clients have to come back.
"We have those who recycle through,” Nagy explained. “One of the primary reasons we opened this (transition) house is because a lot of the men that come through do repeat us. We hope to get those who we feel are motivated and want to change their lives around. It will help to have a really good place for them.”