Room at the Inn was created to provide homeless women and families temporary shelter in unused church space. This concept was originated by the Interfaith Hospitality Network that spread around the country in the 1980s. In 1988, a similar program began here through the county shelter program, Community in Partnership, which began housing overflow from The Salvation Army’s shelter on weekends and in the winter months. McKnight Road Church of Christ introduced “Room at the Inn,” and used church space to temporarily shelter the homeless. More congregations in St. Louis County began providing overflow housing to The Salvation Army.
In 1992, Room at the Inn received a grant from the St. Louis County Department of Human Services and Housing Resource Commission. The grant enabled the Salvation Army to recruit more congregations as overnight sites and to expand Room at the Inn to a year-round shelter. The Sisters of Divine Providence were asked to house the expanded day site and they responded by donating space in their provincial house, Mount Providence, located in Normandy. The Sisters then made a corporate commitment to families without homes and became the sponsors of Room at the Inn.
In 1998, they incorporated two separate agencies under Providence Ministry Corporation: Room at the Inn and La Posada Providencia, a shelter located in San Benito, Texas. In 1999, the Sisters moved their provincial offices to Providence Center in Bridgeton with one third of the facility designated to accommodate the daytime shelter program. By 2000, the number of night sites had grown to 55.
On July 1, 2011, the legal name of Providence Ministry Corporation was officially changed to Room at the Inn, with the mission, services, staff and goals all remaining the same. At the same time, La Posada Providencia was spun off as its own corporation in Texas.
In 2018, the Sisters made the decision to move out of the building in Bridgeton. Rather than selling the property, the Sisters made the incredible decision to donate the property to Room at the Inn!
The Sisters’ selfless acts of compassion and generosity not only established a firm foundation and decades of support for Room at the Inn, but have given the gift of a future to this program. Their legacy and spirit will forever live in this organization; and women and families will continue to be served because of them. In their honor, we have established the Sisters of Divine Providence Legacy Award, whose inscription reads: "Igniting the Spirit of Service and Compassion in us all!" Each year, someone outstanding, who exemplifies their spirit of compassion and service, will be honored in the Sisters’ name and with God’s Providence – we will continue to serve well into the future!