St. Luke’s church makes donation to Samaritan House

The Ecumenical Council of Saranac Lake is continuing to raise funds and make plans for Samaritan House, a homeless shelter to be located in Saranac Lake.

Samaritan House will serve residents of both Franklin and Essex counties.

On Monday, April 7, the Ecumenical Council of Saranac Lake received a donation of $9,331.86 from Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church to put towards the shelter. Mary Lawthers, senior warden at St Luke’s, made the presentation to Rich Loeber, president of the Council, at the monthly meeting of the Ecumenical Council.

With this donation, the Council has now raised about 15 percent of the funds needed for property acquisition. To date, almost all of the contributions have come from the faith community in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. The Council is asking for an increase in community response to the need.

According to national statistics, rural homelessness mirrors that found in urban areas, but is hidden. You do not find the homeless in the north country living in boxes, under bridge overpasses or in parks. They are found in the woods, in abandoned hunting camps and couch surfing at the homes of friends. The rate of homelessness in the north country is about the same as you would find in a big city. That rate is about 1 percent of the population. In Saranac Lake, that translates to about 50 souls.

To server the homeless in our midst, there is a privately run shelter in Malone, and a single bed shelter in Saranac Lake run by Lakeside House.

There are no shelters at this time in Essex County. Samaritan House will address these needs and is much needed at this time. The current plan is to add about 8 beds.

For those interested, there is more information available about the Council’s plans for a homeless shelter at their website,

The public can help by making cash donations to the Ecumenical Council that are earmarked for the Samaritan House shelter project. On-line donations can be made through the website. Contributions by check made out to the Ecumenical Council of Saranac Lake can be mailed to PO Box 194, Saranac Lake, NY 12983. Anyone interested in speaking to someone from the Council can call their office number at 518-897-5005.