In the late 1980s, Father Roger Mollison, pastor of St. Louis Parish from 1989 to 1999, noticed a man sleeping on the church lawn. When questioned, the man responded that he had a son who had been shot and was now in Craig Hospital. Lacking money of a hotel, he had hoped to be safe spending the night outside the church.
From this expereince, Father Roger conceived the goal to provide shelter to those in the midst of a medical crisis. With the help of a grant from the St. Vincent De Paul Society, the parish purchased a nearby duplex in 1990 and has maintained the home now for more than 20 years as a shelter for families and patients.
Social workers at the area hospitals typically refer the families of patients from outside the metro area to St. Louis for temporary housing. Some times the patients themselves stay at the home while undergoing longer-term treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation. To qualify for residency, the families or individuals need to be facing a hospital stay or treatment period of up to 30 days, financial hardship, and typically live a long way from the medical center.
Through the St. Vincent House, St. Louis Parish has provided housing for several hundred people of all faiths, races and nationalities. In addition to support from the parish, the St. Vincent house benefits from its main fundraiser — excursions to mountain gambling towns the third Wednesday of each month.