|The children's play area in the Carpenter's Shelter in Landmark Mall.|
The Howard Hughes Co., which is planning a town center on the now-closed Landmark Mall site, agreed to let the Carpenter’s Shelter use the top floor of Macy’s while its building in Alexandria is being replaced with a much larger facility.
|The dining area.|
The temporary Carpenter’s Shelter opened in June. It provides housing for about two dozen men, a dozen women, and six families. More people will be served during the winter months through a hypothermia program. There’s also a day shelter, called David’s Place, where homeless people staying outdoors can come in to do their laundry, take a shower, check the internet, and make phone calls.
|A flex room provides extra space if needed.|
“Howard Hughes has been remarkably supportive of Carpenter’s Shelter,” says Steene. “They made an effort to understand what we’re all about. They are solid, solid partners.”
|The laundry room.|
The company had originally planned to redevelop the central part of the mall in between Macy’s and Sears, but it has since expanded the project after acquiring the Macy’s building last year. That sent the planners back to the drawing board, resulting in more delays on a project initially proposed in 2012.
Sears remains open, at least for the time being. Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, announced plans this month to close 100 unprofitable stores; no stores in Northern Virginia are on the list. The Landmark Sears is owned by Seritage Growth Properties and leased to Sears Holdings.
|The lounge for adults.|
“Shelter residents love the bathrooms,” Steene says. “Their only complaint is the lack of natural light,” as the store doesn’t have windows.
There are separate rooms with bunk beds for single men and women. There’s also a flex room that could be used for trans people or a family that needs emergency shelter in the winter.
|An open area for classes and other activities.|
Single people stay an average of two months at the shelter, while shelter staff and volunteers help them get back on their feet. Families tend to stay three months.
The shelter does not have a kitchen, as it wasn’t worth going through the extensive permitting process for a temporary facility, Steene says. Instead, there’s a warming station for heating food donated by volunteers. Residents are served lunch and dinner daily, plus a continental breakfast on weekdays and a full breakfast on weekends.
Among the activities at the center: children’s playtime, parenting classes, financial education, job coaching, and a weekly yoga class led by a volunteer.
Staff includes an employment navigator, case worker, and housing locator. And on many days, there's another fixture at the shelter – Steene’s dog, Bobo.