In 1909, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement founded Saint Christopher’s Inn, a temporary homeless shelter and treatment center for men in New York State. The Friars never intended to open a shelter until a man in desperate need of a home and spiritual guidance approached them and Saint Christopher’s Inn became a ministry for men seeking shelter and treatment for addiction to alcohol and other substances. Over the course of its 100-year history, Saint Christopher’s has evolved into a full-service, economical inpatient and outpatient treatment center where its residents are affectionately known as “Brothers Christopher.”
Accommodations and Food
The facility houses the shelter and the outpatient/administrative building, which hearkens to the days of classic monastic architecture. The shelter is a 200-bed home for men in crisis, free of charge. The average stay is 81 days.
In honor of the Franciscan values of obedience and poverty,all men at the shelter do the cooking (in a full-service kitchen) as well as cleaning and groundskeeping.
Treatment and Staff
Saint Christopher’s provides an ambulatory, medically-supervised detox program as well as licensed outpatient treatment to residents at the shelter. The Day Rehabilitation Program is licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services; the medical clinic is licensed by the New York State department of Health and the shelter is licensed by the New York State Department of Social Services. Clients benefit from the cost-effective approach of attending outpatient therapy sessions in the building next door while staying at a shelter (that is, without having to pay for living expenses).
The outpatient program meets six days a week and most of its attendees are residents of the shelter though men from all over the country and the world attend this program as strictly outpatient. The day rehab/outpatient treatment includes individual therapy, Motivational Interviewing (MI), group therapy, meditation groups and 12-step meetings on the premises. Typically men attend therapy sessions and groups half of the day, while the other half of the day is devoted to assigned chores.
Staff at the residence include a full-time credentialed counselor, a house manager and part-time counselors who work on the weekends. The medical clinic has a doctor and nurses on staff.
Men staying at the shelter or those attending outpatient programs separately receive holistic treatment that includes yoga and pastoral counseling.
Saint Christopher’s Inn also provides a family program, a smoking cessation program and vocational and educational services, including GED classes. They also have a transitional living space for men in Westchester County.
Saint Christopher’s Inn is a faith-based organization that welcomes men from all creeds and cultures who seek shelter and/or treatment for substance abuse disorders. For those interested in following the Franciscan order, which encourages men to grow within a community setting at the shelter while reaping the benefits of an outpatient treatment center in such close proximity, this could very well be the spot.
Saint Christopher’s Inn
21 Franciscan Way
Garrison, NY 10524
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