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Our History

Joseph’s House was born in 1982, in an effort to address the needs of Troy’s increasing homeless community. Over 35 years later, the shelter has grown in size and services provided for the homeless community in Troy. The timeline below outlines key points in the shelter’s history.


Sister Rita Shawn of St. Anthony’s Drop-In Center notices a number of people with nowhere to go when the center closes at night . She tells of giving a coat to an elderly woman at the Drop-In Center one winter evening. The woman returned a week later and requested another coat. When Sr. Rita asked what happened to the first coat, the woman responded “I still have it. I am sleeping in a hallway where it is mighty cold. I would like one coat to wear and another to use as a blanket.”

Concerned citizens propose a shelter offering dinner, overnight accommodations, and breakfast between 7:30 pm and 8:00 am. The shelter would employ a full time director but primarily rely on volunteer support.

March 4, 1983

Joseph’s House opens at 1 St. Paul’s Place. A statement of policy published in the premiere issue of Our House reads:

We provide overnight emergency housing for 14 individuals…Women and men are accommodated in separate flats. Shelter is provided on a one-night at a time basis up to a maximum of two weeks (extensions at staff discretion). Guests receive a hot evening meal and a light breakfast. Clean bedding and bath facilities are provided. Guests may enter the shelter at 7:00 pm and must leave by 8:30 am.


Joseph’s House makes room for more beds on the second and third floors, to meet an increased demand for shelter. We are now sheltering 21 guests every night.


Joseph’s House opens a “wet shelter”, in the Taylor Apartments for homeless adults who cannot be accommodated at St. Paul’s Place because they cannot maintain sobriety. The Taylor shelter operates every winter through 1995.


The shelter moves to its present location at 74 Ferry Street. Semi private bedrooms offer some privacy for single adults and a separate apartment shelters family members together. The building is open around the clock, so guests don’t have to leave during the day, and a clinic provides medical attention to people reluctant or unable to engage in a more formal health program.

The Inn on Ferry Street opens, providing permanent housing to adults with a history of chronic homelessness.


The Lansing Inn (the former Phoenix Hotel) proudly opens its doors to provide safe, affordable and permanent supported housing for twenty-six single, formerly homeless adults coping with disabilities.


The Hill Street Inn replaces and expands on the permanent supportive housing program previously offered at the Inn at Ferry Street. We offer safe and affordable housing to 22 formerly homeless individuals with disabilities in studio and one-bedroom apartments.