In the best of all possible futures, My Sister's Place would close, director Mary Ellen says. There would be homes for all women and children. They would have jobs. The women would be ready to become part of a thriving community.
That will not happen soon.
As she looks to the future, Mary Ellen sees a need for the shelter to expand its role.
Finding housing for the homeless is, of course, a primary mission. But she also would like to see the guests advance to a place in their lives where they feel secure enough to support themselves emotionally and financially.
Turning the knitting project into a cottage industry is one possible way to encourage this, Mary Ellen says.
Also, Mary Ellen sees a need to take care of the children who now accompany their mothers to My Sister's Place. She hopes to establish a second day shelter for mothers and children.
"Children growing up in families where poverty is part of their lives, in shelters, will need a place where they know they belong," Mary Ellen says. "Where they can get their bearings, can regroup, with no pressure. That might be reason enough for them to gain some new hope."
STEPHANIE SHAPIRO is a reporter for The Sun.