For the past 25 years, Ruth Mercier has been dedicated to helping the homeless.

In 1997, she helped launch St. James Have as a place of refuge for homeless men in Meadville and Crawford County.

On Tuesday, the organization celebrated its 25th anniversary.

"It's a pretty big issue," said St. James Haven Executive Director Samantha Stump. "We are consistently eight to 10 people on an average night."

The shelter can accommodate up to 14 men every night, providing them with a bed, food, clothing, and other basic essentials.

"These men come from all walks of life," said Stump. "From broken marriages to losing their homes, could be substance abuse. Those kinds of things, but a lot of people deal with that."

Along with providing food and shelter, St. James Haven also teams up with social service agencies to help homeless men get back on their feet.

"We want to see them not just have a place to lay their heads," said Stump. "We want to see them move forward and come out of homelessness."

Mercier hopes to see the organization continue offering help to the homeless for many years to come.

"The girls are doing a good job," said Mercier. "I've had people tell me it's going good here."

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.