Oz II construction halfway point

Topping the year off: Topping off Ozanam Manor II

SVdP celebrates the construction milestone — a halfway point — as it anticipates opening its newest transitional shelter in 2024

On a crisp winter morning, just as the sun peaked over Ozanam Manor II’s newly erected walls, the construction team from Ryan Companies hoisted the last structural steel beam onto the new 50,000-square-foot building that will eventually house 100 seniors, veterans and adults with disabilities on St. Vincent de Paul’s main campus in 2024.

Oz II glimmer on topping off day
The "glimmer of hope" that appeared over Ozanam Manor II as the final steel beam "topped off" the new 100-bed transitional shelter at SVdP.
“It was God’s glimmer,” said Shannon Clancy, SVdP’s Rob and Melani Walton Endowed CEO, “as if to say — ‘I, too, bless this place, all who will call it home and all who make it possible.’

On the steel beam were signatures of the donors, volunteers, residents and employees who gathered to watch the construction milestone and ceremonial “topping off,” which marked the halfway point for the project. The final beam completed the archway over the entrance to what will be the newest of SVdP’s transitional shelters. SVdP broke ground on the building in summer 2023 and is expected to open Ozanam Manor II in the summer of 2024.

Oz II topping off group
SVdP staff, volunteers, donors, residents and community members gathered on a crisp morning to celebrate the ceremonial "topping off" construction milestone.

Currently, construction is on schedule and on budget, with big thanks to Ryan Companies, the general contractor.

“The project team is really the most important decision that we made,” said SVdP’s Senior Advisor Steve Gervais, who oversees the nonprofit’s capital improvement projects. “Ryan Companies and its leaders truly have a community-based mindset. They did such a good job on the original Ozanam Manor that they were our first choice for Oz II given their professionalism and the knowledge they bring to the project.”

Oz II topping off construction team
Ryan Companies construction crew readies the archway for the beam's final placement.

“We’re honored to continue our partnership with SVdP to provide housing for our fellow neighbors in need. At Ryan, we create places for people to thrive,” said Chuck Carefoot, Southwest region president at Ryan Companies. “Our team always considers the impact buildings have on people and communities, and we know that Ozanam Manor II will provide much-needed resources for its residents.”

Graduated Oz resident Sylvan McKenzie signs the final steel beam for Oz II
Graduated Ozanam Manor resident and now volunteer Sylvan McKenzie signs the final steel beam. Click on the image to watch and read his full story.

One extra special signature adorned the final steel beam — that of Sylvan McKenzie, a former resident who graduated from SVdP’s current Ozanam Manor transitional housing program and now volunteers in the nonprofit’s central kitchen.

His signature represents the hope SVdP has as Ozanam Manor II continues the success of the interim housing community it will model itself after.

Ozanam Manor staff at Oz II topping off ceremony
Ozanam Manor case managers (from left) Stephanie Wise, Maribeth Schmidt, and Esther Reyes-Ramirez were there to help celebrate the expansion of the current shelter and rehousing program they help make successful every single day.

Nicknamed “Oz,” Ozanam Manor focuses on rehousing the same elderly population and currently has 60 beds in the Diane and Bruce Halle Center for Hope and Healing just west of the new building. Oz boasts a high success rate with 98% of graduated residents remaining housed and not returning to homelessness services one year after moving out.

“These are our fathers, mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers,” SVdP Chief Operating Officer Pat Donaldson said. “Social Security isn’t keeping pace with rents. To be able to bring online Oz II and move hundreds of seniors a year through that program— with most of them getting apartments — is a huge accomplishment.

“It’s really the right thing at the right time,” continued Donaldson, noting the drastic increase in homelessness the Valley is currently experiencing. “Like everybody else, I wish we were opening five more, but this is wonderful.” 

With both Ozanam Manors in operation and an average stay of about eight months, Donaldson estimates that SVdP will be able to house about 320 seniors a year. In addition to more than doubling transitional housing capacity on SVdP’s main campus, Oz II will bring added services with a new companion animal clinic and dedicated space for workforce readiness programming.

Oz II construction
A look inside at the steel beams a few weeks before the laying of the second floor.

In total, the $20-million project is made possible by city, county and state funding as well as private donations. It is the second phase of capital improvements for SVdP, which continues to look for ways to rethink and expand services to meet the community’s current need.

“This is our moment to do our part to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors during a critical time by expanding on a model of transitional housing with proven success,” Clancy said. 

“Our unhoused seniors, veterans, and neighbors facing disabilities deserve greater access to a housing program as dignified and loving as Ozanam Manor — a place to help them find a home, and a support system with wraparound care that ensures their long-term housing success.”