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Roofing & Siding Contractors Alliance

News Release
Contact: Larry Weintraub (314) 721-5050
Chris Gewehr (314) 884-4212
Eric Kirberg (314) 333-4704

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Shelter to Have New Roof Over Their Head
Roofing Contractors Alliance and Union Labor Team Up for the Benefit of Gateway 180

ST. LOUIS (October 20, 2010) &ndash Serving homeless women and children and at-risk families, Gateway 180 :: Homelessness Reversed is soon to be a better shelter for those in need because of the generosity of members of the Roofing & Siding Contractors Alliance (RSCA) and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Local No. 2.

The $120,000 project to provide a high-performance insulation and roofing system began on October 12 and is expected to be completed by October 26. Paul Eckrich of Jos. Eckrich Roofing Company and a member of RSCA serves as chairman of Gateway's facilities committee. He asked Eric Kirberg, Vice President of Kirberg Company, if he would be willing to coordinate the project. Kirberg, also a member of RSCA, is donating his overall supervision, equipment and know-how. The roofing materials are being contributed by RSCA members, Roofers Mart and Firestone Building Products. Local No. 2 is providing a $50,000 grant to cover the cost of labor from its Industry Advancement Fund, which promotes the unionized roofing industry and is funded by the Signatory Roofing Contractors.

"This is a huge gift and Eric has been a champion," says Martin Rafanan, the Executive Director of Gateway 180. "Our mission is to provide safe, nurturing, emergency shelter services designed to get women, children and families into homes within 25 days. With the new roof and the associated weatherization project made possible because of it, we'll have energy savings of $17,000 annually. That's money we will use to get more women with children into housing more quickly."

"We were able to leverage the commitment for the new roof to be able to receive additional funding through the Department of Natural Resources and the Urban League of Metro St. Louis for an extensive weatherization project." explains Eckrich about the further renovation taking place at Gateway 180.

Gateway 180 is the largest 24-hour emergency shelter for single women and families in the state of Missouri, providing 110 beds and three home-cooked meals a day to residents. In adverse weather conditions, the shelter opens additional beds to meet the needs of homeless women and children in the community. In addition, more than 100 lunches are distributed each day to homeless and low-income people.

Located just north of downtown St. Louis in the historic Carr Square neighborhood, three blocks from City Museum, Gateway 180's building is the historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Community Center, a building that is over 90-years old.

"We are in constant need for maintaining this building," says Rafanan. "Of course, with 70% of our residents under the age of 11 on any given day, our number one goal is to get them out of the shelter and into a home quickly. Every child deserves a home."