Breakdown of funds raised for new homeless shelter
• Total raised: $3,058,665
• Donations secured before October 2011: $1,345,000
• Donations received during recent campaign: $894,876
• Mabee Foundation Grant: $540,000
• Housing and Urban Development grant: $200,000
• Federal stimulus grant: $78,789
Thanks to 630 different donors, who gave more than $890,000 in fewer than eight weeks, the Lawrence Community Shelter will celebrate next Thanksgiving at a new location.
The money — everything from $5 bills to a $100,000 check — poured in “from people we don’t even know,” said John Tacha, shelter board member, at a news conference Monday in front of the current shelter, 214 W. 10th St.
Tacha announced the shelter exceeded its goal of raising $815,000 by a Thanksgiving Day deadline in order to meet requirements for a $540,000 matching grant from the Mabee Foundation. The funds secured now exceed the $3 million needed to purchase and renovate a 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 3701 Franklin Park Circle, just east of Douglas County Jail.
Rosy Elmore, shelter board member, said the larger facility is long overdue.
“To see people lying on mat after mat was heartbreaking,” said Elmore of current conditions at the shelter, which has been seeing record numbers of people and families this year. The shelter is currently using overflow space at area churches to house people when it exceed its 75-bed capacity. The new shelter will have a capacity of 100 to 125 beds.
Tacha said a specific timetable for the construction on the new location hasn’t been set, but he expects to finalize the purchase contract and begin taking construction bids in January or February. After construction begins, Tacha estimated the new shelter would take six to eight months to renovate.
Donations received during the eight-week campaign came from a variety of sources, Tacha said.
The donations included six donors — whose names were not released — who gave more than $25,000 each toward the $815,000 goal.
After years of efforts to find a site and obtain city and county support, Loring Henderson, shelter director, said he’s eager to get into the new building, which will feature an expanded jobs program, as well as a medical clinic and larger kitchen facilities.
Henderson praised the efforts of the shelter’s board of directors, and community members who stepped up in support of a new shelter.
“In so many ways, it’s going to be so much more humane,” Henderson said.