Webster Square – 1059 Main St., Worcester
usIt’s difficult to find much information on the building at the site of 1059 Main St in the Webster Square area of South Main St. We know from photos it was the Hotel Stafford from at least 1915 to 1979, and it survived the flood of 1955. This article by the Worcester Telegram mentions other businesses it housed over the years, however little information can be found.
Jeremiah’s Inn was founded in 1982 by Deacon John Egan and a group of folks who wanted to do something to help homeless men in Worcester. He started a scattered site shelter for homeless men with an apartment on West Street and then expanded to other places. When the property finally went up for sale in 1986, John was able to enlist the aid of Mark Ungerer, CEO of Flexcon, his friend Jim Coghlin, and other business people to raise money to purchase the building.
The Worcester Area Mission Society also assisted with the funding. There were lots of people involved. A crew including an architect, engineers and others, designed a renovation and restoration for the entire building. There were many issues involved to bring the building up to code. Funding was still dependent upon donations, tag days and speaking to whoever would listen. Judy Langlois (Grimes), took over as Executive Director with a small staff and a lot of compassion.
Worcester County Food Bank WCFB (also founded in the early 80’s) began helping JI stock an emergency food pantry to serve residents in the neighborhood, as a result of folks often coming to the Inn for a meal, in need of food. The next big step in our evolution came in in 1996, when more and more men were coming to the Inn with underlying substance use and mental health issues.
Jeremiah’s Inn Inc. applied for and received funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) for a license to operate a 29-bed social model residential recovery home for men.