HISTORY

1987 RCCR Incorporated 

1989 Samaritan Inn Opened

1991 Smith Street Station Opened

1994 Hired our first Executive Director -Sandra Hamlin 

1995 Housing Counseling Program 

2001 CHDO Development 

2006 Knollview Village Apartments Opened

2008 Hired our second Executive Director - Debra Payne

2010 Willow Tree Apartments Opened

2012 Willow Tree II Apartments Opened

2019 Hired our third Executive Director - Kevin Jones

In 1984 the “Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness” was struggling to find a solution to what was believed to be a solvable problem of homelessness in Charleston.  It became clear that there was not one solution, but that it would take a variety of approaches to adequately meet the needs of our fellow citizens.  Some of these were already in place: Covenant House, Manna Meals, Sojourners Shelter for Women and Families, the new Men’s Shelter and the Union Mission.  Each of these agencies gave excellent cooperation to the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal, Inc., the new kid on the social services block.

The Mayor’s Task Force was guided by the findings of the document, Beyond Summers Street, written by Will Carter after spending a summer on the streets of Charleston.  Out of the Task Force discussions came the vision of a religious response to the needs of the homeless.  Thus, the RCCR was born.  It was made up of Protestant, Catholic and Jewish congregations, representing 10,000 to 12,000 citizens of Charleston.

A delegation of leading lay and clergy persons went for a two-day period of exploration of the work of The Church of the Savior, Washington, D.C.  They had established a number of Samaritan Inns, Apartment Houses for low income persons, businesses for them to work in, and even a Hospital, to which homeless people could go to stay and receive free medical attention as long as they needed it.

Some of the lay persons of that important trip were Newton Thomas and Judy Keller from First Presbyterian; David Lambert from Christ Church United Methodist; Stan Lowenstein of Temple Israel.  Clergy included Dr. Davie Du Bois, Christ Church; Dr. Tony Tucker, First Presbyterian, Rev. Jim Lewis, St. John’s Episcopal; and Rev. Jim Donald, St. Matthew’s Episcopal.

Gordon Cosby, Pastor of the Church of the Savior, introduced this group to a variety of projects and concepts dealing with homeless persons, including the fact that people will “live up to your expectations as well as live down to them.”   Thus he said, when we began a Samaritan Inn or any other project in Charleston, it should be “first class” no hand-me-down furniture, etc.  We took that advice very seriously.

Inspired by that trip, this group returned to Charleston determined to move ahead without haste and without rest.  Dr. David Du Bois was elected President, and a working group of about 10-12 people met weekly and more often as necessary to bird-dog this project.  They were all amateur volunteers, learning as they went along.  But they were inspired by a vision of what was possible if we all worked together on behalf of our less fortunate neighbors.

Inspired by that trip, this group returned to Charleston determined to move ahead without haste and without rest.  Dr. David Du Bois was elected President, and a working group of about 10-12 people met weekly and more often as necessary to bird-dog this project.  They were all amateur volunteers, learning as they went along.  But they were inspired by a vision of what was possible if we all worked together on behalf of our less fortunate neighbors.

The development of the Samaritan Inn highlighted a need, brought together people of good will from all over the community, and provided an opportunity for countless numbers of people to give of their time and talents on behalf of others.

We received gifts and grants from the Clay, Kanawha Valley, Daywood, Jacobson, and the Alex Schoenbaum Family Foundations, Lamb Trust, the congregations of the RCCR, HUD, the Governor’s Shelter Program, and a Community Development Block Grant.  One Valley Bank supplied the construction funding.  Additionally, we had excellent cooperation from the Mayor’s office and other city officials.

Mr. Paul Marshall, an architect specializing in restoration of older buildings became our volunteer consultant on construction.  Much of the work was done with volunteer groups from the congregations and the community.  There were 135 volunteers who worked on the restoration, including a group of students from Princeton University who came as a work team on spring break.  The Inn had to be completely rewired, replumbed, new rooms were created, bathrooms were developed, the beautiful floors and wood work had to be refinished, heating and air conditioning installed, furniture and furnishings purchased, a commercial kitchen developed, and original paintings for hallways and each room were supplied by Charleston artists.

From the very beginning we determined that this home and the programs and persons involved with it would be committed to each resident of the Samaritan Inn.  Through the years we have sought to provide an intensive system of support, as well as a safe and comfortable place for men to live while putting their lives back together again, and helping them take the necessary steps toward independent living.

These ten years have been marvelous years of growth and development for the Samaritan Inn and of the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal, Inc.  As is so often the case, when we set out to help others, we are blessed beyond our imagining.  That has been true of this special project.  Along with other community agencies we believe that the Samaritan Inn and the other important initiatives of the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal to Charleston.  In doing so, we have put a human face (which is the face of God) on this community.

E. David Du Bois
RCCR Founding President

2021 Transitional Storage Facility Opened

2020 Social Services Program Expanded 

2004 Outreach Services 

The Religious Coalition for Community Renewal

1117 Quarrier Street
Charleston, WV 25301

Open Monday through Friday 9am - 4pm

Phone:  304-346-6398

Fax:   844-606-7983

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