A home for women with “personal troubles” will open inside a vacant convent across the street from a Gravesend church, this paper has learned.
The St. Clare Home will house 11 young women “looking to lead good solid Catholic lives,” according to Angela Scannapieco, the director of Youth 2000 New York, a group that sponsors Eucharist retreats for young people.
“It’s always been in my heart to have a home like this for young women,” she said.
Scannapieco and Youth 2000 are the driving force behind the proposal.
Initially, the hope was to open St. Clare by the fall, but the opening date will now depend on fundraising efforts, according to Scannapieco.
The goal is to raise $200,000 for renovations to the convent, she said. The convent is attached to the St. Simon and St. Jude School at 294 Avenue T.
The home would be rented from the diocese and will be similar to the St. Francis House in Greenpoint, according to Scannapieco, where she also works.
She said the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal are supportive of the Gravesend home plan.
Joseph Campo, the director of St. Francis House, said that home is for young men who “need a second chance in life.”
“It’s not a halfway house, drug rehab, it’s not a mental institution. It’s a safe haven, if you will,” he said.
Scannapieco said that the women at St. Clare will have all gone through “personal troubles of one form or another.”
“We are not talking about drug addicts,” she said. “Everyone has been through struggles in their lives.”
She said the women would be going to school or work, or both.
“It’s really a place to be grounded in their faith,” she said.
Rumors of the home have persisted in the neighborhood for the past few weeks—so much so, that the pastor of St. Simon and St. Jude Church (185 Van Sicklen Street), Father Gregory Stankus, addressed the matter at a recent Sunday service, saying the plan did not include a group home or halfway house.
At press time, Stankus did not return several calls for comment.
Carmine Santa Maria, the president of the Bensonhurst West End Community Council, said he would wait and see what local residents say about the project before weighing in.
“They may be fine people, but if the community is questioning it, then of course I am concerned.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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