Harry Tompson Center
|Purpose||Serve the homeless|
|Harry Tompson, SJ|
|5 full time|
|Remarks||After Hurricane Katrina, HTC joined Rebuild Center for much of its outreach|
Harry Tompson Center (HTC) has its roots in a Jesuit's outreach to the homeless while he was pastor of Immaculate Conception parish on Baronne Street in New Orleans. When Fr. Harry Tompson, S.J., died in 2001 his friends and supporters carried on his efforts at providing a full array of services for the homeless, to which they added his name.
In 1999 Fr. Harry Tompson, as Jesuit pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in downtown New Orleans, began the Parish Center ministry for the homeless in a building next to the rectory, with one staff member and one volunteer. It provided a place to shower, wash clothes, and rest in a comfortable environment for about 30 homeless people. Before long five staff were required to assist the 175 or so men and women who came each day. Free legal services are also offered.
Fr. Tompson died of cancer in 2001, at age 65. Fr. Tom Stahel who was pastor from 2004-2005 changed the name to Harry Tompson Center and registered it as a non-profit. By 2005 it was seeing 275 people a day. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina inflicted severe flood damage on the Center and the Vincentians at St. Joseph church nearby donated space for its relocation. The Southern Province of Jesuits enlisted architects from Detroit Mercy University to build an award-winning space with a serene outdoor environment, away from the traffic of the city. Sr. Vera Butler, PVBM, and Lantern Light Ministry of the Presentation Sisters were instrumental in bringing the ministry to St. Joseph, in the new facility under the name of Rebuild Center. Tompson had been president of Jesuit High School New Orleans for many years and an annual Gala attended by those who knew him helps support the center.
In October 2013, the Harry Tompson Center extended its services to a new location, the Veterans Administration Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) at 1530 Gravier Street. Here the homeless (veterans or not) receive laundry and shower services and hygiene supplies. The Center has also been increasing its efforts to find housing for veterans.
The Center continues to serve the homeless under its board of directors and with the ongoing support of Immaculate Conception Parish, with funding from UNITY and the City of New Orleans, and with help from Loyola University New Orleans, Spring Hill College, Mobile, Jesuit Volunteer Corps. and other immersion programs.
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