In the once-empty Old Alcohol Plant, Bayside Housing organizers fill rooms with individuals in need. The non-profit provided shelter to 59 people last year and has provided nearly 22,000 bed nights since it opened in 2016. Now, organizers are opening more rooms in the hotel during the coronavirus pandemic for those who are homeless.

COURTESY PHOTO

Posted Wednesday, April 29, 2020 3:00 am

Lily Haight
lhaight@ptleader.com

Bayside Housing is opening 10 more rooms in the Old Alcohol Plant hotel for homeless individuals.

Bayside is a nonprofit organization that uses revenue from the hotel to fund transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness. Typically, they have about 20 rooms for singles, couples and families who are in risky or no-housing situations, such as living outside, in cars or couch-surfing.

The nonprofit also has staff members who help individuals job search and transition into permanent housing.

During the coronavirus pandemic, organizers at Bayside Housing decided to open 10 rooms in the Old Alcohol Plant hotel that aren’t currently being used by customers for more transitional-housing services.

“When there’s less, you’ve got to give more,” said Leslie Shipley, development director at Bayside Housing. “That inspired us to go ahead and expand our services.”

With an $18,000 grant from the Jefferson Community Fund’s COVID-19 Emergency Response, the nonprofit is starting to house individuals who have been on a waitlist.

While they give preference to veterans and seniors, they will also house those who are the most vulnerable.

“At the end of the day, it’s about those who are most in need,” Shipley said.

Bayside Housing is funded by revenue generated at the Old Alcohol Plant hotel and the Spirits Bar and Grill restaurant. Because of the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, the hotel has not been earning the same revenue it usually does.

The grant from the Community Foundation will help the nonprofit start expanding services, but it will take community support to continue them.

“We have no doubt we will make this happen,” Shipley said. “We’ve asked our supporters for help, and they have really stepped up. It’s been a wonderful response from the community.”

In addition to donating to the nonprofit, community members can also continue to support the Spirits Bar and Grill by ordering meals for takeout and curbside pickup.

Revenue will go toward supporting individuals who need housing during this pandemic.

“In this time we want to make sure people are safe,” Shipley said. “It’s always a tragedy when someone doesn’t have a safe place to go home. But right now, during this pandemic, it is not a time to be without a door to close behind you at night.”

©2020 by Bayside Housing & Services.