CHARLESTON,SC- Community leaders, volunteers and supporters gathered today to break ground onCharleston’s new homeless shelter, a space that will be specifically designed to help homeless men and women achieve self-sufficiency.
Founded in 1984, Crisis Ministries has always operated out of donated, retrofitted space. Each year, 1,200 guests pour through the doors in search of shelter and 200,000 meals are served to guests and area residents.
The new facility is being built adjacent to the existing shelter complex, with completion expected in 18 to 24 months. It will provide 70 emergency shelter beds, 40 transitional Veterans’ beds, a health clinic, dedicated counseling/group meeting space and a new community soup kitchen.
The fundraising goal for the new shelter is $6 million, $4.7 million of which has been raised. Shelter CEO Stacey Denaux cited a number of area families whose generosity was key to such an effective early capital campaign. “Today is a celebration not only of the future, but of the long and wonderful relationships we enjoy with donors,” said Denaux. “Thanks to these families and foundations,Charleston’s reputation for gracious hospitality will extend to those among us who need it most.”
- The Zucker Family has underwritten the new community Soup Kitchen, which will be an efficient and effective workspace for more than 4,000 volunteers to prepare meals 365 days a year.
- A light-filled dining hall will replace the current space, which serves 175 meals a day and doubles as the men’s dormitory.
- TheBakkerFamilyFoodRescueCenterwill support the shelter’s efforts to procure and store food donated from all over the community. In a typical year, the shelter recovers $600,000 worth of donated food, but often struggles with appropriate storage and preparation space.
- The Harold C. Schott Dormitory will be a dedicated space that brings dignity to the individuals sheltered there. Guests will be provided lockers, beds and clean linens.
- Veterans Programs will expand as the shelter grows from 14 to 40 beds dedicated to men who have served our country (female veterans are housed in 10 beds in theFamilyCenter), which was made possible in part by $1.2 million Veterans Administration New Shelter Capital grant.
- The Homeless Health Clinic currently saves local ERs $60,000 worth of care that would otherwise go to homeless individuals. The new clinic will add private exam rooms, a dental room and a nurse’s station. The Roper Saint Francis Physicians Endowment has launched a matching grant program to help underwrite the $500,000 cost of the clinic. If the community raises $300,000 for the clinic, the Roper St. Francis Physician Endowment will grant Crisis Ministries $200,000. Nearly $190,000 out of $300,000 has already been committed in order to receive this Challenge.
Denaux also noted that the building has been designed with sustainability in mind. Architects with McMillan Pazdan Smith have included energy-conserving HVAC, water and window systems and reclaimed materials. The building is expected to qualify for LEED status as designated by the United States Green Buildings Council.
With today’s groundbreaking ceremony, Crisis Ministries enters the final phase of its effort to raise funds for the building. Community leaders appealed to individuals throughout the community to log onto the “Food Shelter Hope” page at www.foodshelterhope.org and browse among the items needed to equip the shelter. With a simple click, donors can see what their support will help provide.
“For years, Crisis Ministries has been supported through small, yet meaningful, donations, said Denaux. We wanted to be sure that members of the community could see the many tangible ways that their support will benefit our guests.”