ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Carpenter’s Shelter will temporarily move into the former Macy’s at the Landmark Mall.
The homeless shelter has operated at retrofitted DMV on North Henry Street for almost 20 years, providing a 60-day emergency shelter with a number of services, a day shelter (David’s Place) which addresses the basic needs of chronically homeless individuals, and the City of Alexandria Winter Shelter which runs from November to April.
Executive Director Shannon Steene says they are in great need of a new building, but needed a place to operate during the construction.
“There was a group of people around the table and they mentioned the Landmark Mall and everyone laughed as if it was a punch line.”
The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) currently owns the Landmark Mall and the Macy’s, which is now closed, with plans to transform the area into a vibrant, open-air, mixed-use community with retail, residential and entertainment components.
Sears’ is still open, but their ownership is currently in talks with HHC about reincorporating them into the redevelopment plan, according to the city of Alexandria’s website.
Steene says they were able to work out an agreement with HHC to operate the shelter in the Macy’s through 2019 while a new permanent shelter is being constructed at the North Henry Street property.
HHC will continue to plan the project and the shelter will not affect the redevelopment.
The new Carpenter’s Shelter, slated to be ready in 2020, will include 97 affordable apartments for low-income residents above the shelter.
Ten of the apartments will be permanent supportive housing units for people who have been chronically homeless.
Steene says there is a lot of excitement, but understandably, some nerves with the temporary transition.
“We’re very interested in providing quality of service even though we’ll be in a different location for a period of time,” he says.
The shelter is currently asking the public to hold off on in-kind donation prior to their move-in.