Take Your Seat At Our Table: Project Updates | About The Project | FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you moving? The Samaritan Center has operated out of the basement of St. Paul’s Cathedral since its beginnings in 1981. The program has grown from serving 30 brown bag lunches to serving over 114,000 meals annually. 33.6% of Syracuse city residents live below the federal poverty level. For children that number is almost 55%. A larger space is needed to respond to growing community need and to expand the services we are able to offer our guests and the community.

Were you asked to leave St. Paul’s? Not at all. We are grateful for the ongoing support of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a church that helped found Samaritan Center more than 33 years ago. We worked many months in partnership with St. Paul’s to evaluate expansion options at 310 Montgomery Street before both parties accepted that an alternative site was necessary.

Why the North Side? The largest concentration of the Samaritan Center’s current guests live on the city’s North side- approximately 30%. This location will actually move services closer to that population. The new location is approximately 4 blocks walking distance from the original site.

What about the neighbors? While the property is in many ways isolated by parking and heavily trafficked road ways, we will be working diligently to assure that we are good stewards of the building and this important neighborhood.

Why such a big building? The size of the former St. John’s will allow Samaritan Center to respond to continually increasing community need and expand the services provided. The central community space will be designed with the flexibility and accessibility to accommodate large community gatherings for the purposes of education, celebration, skill building, support and service. Specific activities planned include community discussions around issues of poverty and hunger, educational movie screenings and public forums; music events, community meals, celebrations and public health activities. The building is also fully handicapped accessible for our differently enabled visitors and allows operations to occur at street level for the first time in the Center’s history.

Will you provide more services? The centerpiece of Samaritan Center’s work will continue to be providing food for those in need, no questions asked, 365 days a year. With this larger space, we will be able to expand the direct case management supports we are able to provide, increase the number of partnering human service organizations that are on site to assist those in need and increase the frequency with which these supports are available. We plan the creation of a computer access point where individuals can work on resumes and complete job searches, a family area for parents and their children and a community gathering space for lectures, panel discussions and community celebrations.

What about the people you serve now? This site is located only three tenths (.3) of a mile from our current site. The largest concentration of the Samaritan Center’s current guests live on the city’s North side- approximately 30%. This location will actually move services closer to that population.

What about safety and security? The safety and security of our guests and neighbors is a critical piece of the Samaritan Center’s operations. External and internal security systems are being integrated into building design, including cameras, alarms and monitors to ensure the safety of those utilizing the building and the neighborhood. We will be working with Syracuse DPW to ensure appropriate cross walk and light timing as well as dispatching volunteers to assist with street crossing and exterior monitoring.

How will people get to you? The majority of those served by the Samaritan Center walk to the facility and will continue to do so. The new location is on a major bus line which will improve access for guests and volunteers utilizing public transportation. The building is just four blocks away from the original site.

How will people know you have moved? Our guests and volunteers will be closely involved in the transition process including visits to the new site prior to its opening and assisted navigation as services move. Significant outreach will also occur with media, community service organizations and referral sources.

Will you be hiring more staff? Samaritan Center will continue with its current contingent of staff and the more than 800 volunteers a month that make the work of the Center possible. Staffing levels will continue to be assessed and adjusted based on activity and service provided.

Will there be opportunity to volunteer? Yes! With increased services being made available we will be able to expand our volunteer opportunities, allowing even more people to engage with the community through the work of the Samaritan Center. Please contact us at volunteer@samcenter.org to find out how you can help before, during or after the move.

What is the project going to cost? We will be making a significant investment in the neighborhood and in the creative redevelopment of this historic structure. More details will follow in the coming months regarding the launch of a capital campaign to support this project.

How are you going to support the building in the long term? 95% of the Samaritan Center’s income is generated from the private donations of individuals, faith based and civic organizations and corporations. We will continue to work to engage the community and its generosity in the support of work directly and locally impacting those in need.

How will the I81 project impact you? The future of Interstate 81 has not yet been determined, however, regardless of the outcome, the need will continue to exist in this neighborhood and our community. We will be closely watching the developments of the I81 initiative.

For more information on the project or to discuss being a part of the capital campaign please contact:
John Sindoni at 315-425-2787 or jsindoni@hblaw.com