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Ecclesia House opens on Ann Street

May 12th, 2011

It has been more than four years in the making and a lifetime since Theresa Orzechowski championed the rights of battered women more than 20 years ago, but Ecclesia House finally debuted Saturday at 91 Ann St. in the City of Newburgh.

Volunteers made the bases for beds for battered women who will soon be able to stay for up to a year at the Ecclesia House while they gain their ability to be self-supporting. The quilts are being handmade by other volunteers to give the place a homey feel.

The Rev. Steve Ruelke and his wife Ruth proudly hosted an open house that had been put on hold for the past several months at the house that will now serve as home to 10 previously homeless women in Newburgh.

The new residents will have all the comforts of home. They have beds and bathroom facilities and showers. They have a washer and dryer and a refrigerator that might even be fair game for a midnight snack.

They will have handmade crocheted bedspreads that have been donated by local volunteers who are continuing to fashion new spreads for the next occupants who will be arriving soon.

As was stated in the Ecclesia House press release, “come and see this house rebuilt by the grace of God and the support of our friends and neighbors, a house that will be a one-of-a-kind home for women in transition.”

Ruelke said the final touches on Ecclesia House will be completed in the next month to six weeks with occupancy expected by mid-June or early July.

More than two decades ago, Theresa Orzechowski took homeless people into her own trailer, then opened two large shelters.

Despite many setbacks and a lot of resistance from local government, she continued to search dangerous streets, bringing the homeless into her shelters.

She surely would have been proud of Ecclesia House, which was formerly known as Our Lady of Comfort.

By ALLAN GAUL
agaul@tcnewspapers.com

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