Father renovating old church into shelter for homeless veterans

Created: 10/21/2013 11:31 AM
By: Heather Mills, KOB Eyewitness News 4

He's a man with a mission and he says his goal is simple, to take in and take care of our veterans. Out of an old building, he's creating new hope.

What you may see when you drive down Third Street in downtown Albuquerque is an old church for sale. But Father Chris Laine sees hope and promise. "We're caregivers and that's what we do," he said.

Father Chris took KOB anchor and reporter Heather Mills inside the building. Right now, it's 5,000 square feet and still full of pews in the front row and empty rooms in the back. But he has a vision.

"This entire side of the building will become a two story structure," he said.

Father Chris says he was struck by how many homeless veterans live day-to-day on the streets in our community.

"I don't think that's just the government's responsibility. I think that is every citizen's responsibility," he said. So, he decided to create Emmaus House.

On the bottom floor there will be an assisted living facility with space for 15 to 20 veterans.

"If they have six months or six years to live, that's irrelevant. We're going to take care of them," Father Chris said.

Upstairs, there will be rooms for ten more in the "Adopt-A-Vet" program.

"About the 4th pew, will be a little chapel and back that way will be more rooms, showers for the 1st floor," he explained.

This program offers housing to homeless veterans as they look to get back on their feet. "You take them in and you give them everything you've got because they were giving you everything they had," Father Chris said.

His mission is simple: "It's an all-faith movement." His plan is anything but. A government grant will fund the purchase and renovation of the building. But it's the donations and volunteers that will keep Emmaus House running.

"We had two chefs that have volunteered their services," Father Chris said. "I'm not doing it by myself." He says they hope to open in the spring. "I've got a concept and so far, so good."

Father Chris has been working on the plan for two years. Once it's open, he'll live on-site, as well as a handful of others from different faiths. He says it's open to anyone who needs help.

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Father Chris Lain shows KOB's Heather Mills his plans to turn an old church into a shelter for homeless veterans

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