Good Shepherd launches $20 million campaign to expand campus and bring 70 homes to unsheltered population

Good Shepherd announces its Home for Good campaign on Thursday to raise $20 million to expand services and build more permanent supportive housing. (Courtesy of Good Shepherd)

WILMINGTON — A local nonprofit on a multimillion-dollar mission to expand its services and provide additional comfort to a vulnerable population. Good Shepherd announced a $20 million fundraising effort Thursday that will take place over the next three years.

The Home for Good campaign will raise funds for the construction of a three-story apartment building on property across from the Good Shepherd campus at 811 Martin St. This would double the space for families in need of temporary and permanent housing .

READ MORE: City to donate former fire station grounds and partner with Good Shepherd for homeless housing

In the late 1990s, the nonprofit purchased approximately 1 acre of wooded land at 812 Martin Street, knowing that the nonprofit eventually wanted to expand.

“While daunting in terms of the scope and the amount we need to raise, at the same time, I don’t know if there has ever been more understanding and appreciation for the seriousness of the housing situation,” he said. added General Manager Katrina Knight. “The need is so great.”

Good Shepherd announced that it has already made a $1.5 million dent towards its goal, through private donations, including an undisclosed amount from MegaCorps, whose CEO Ryan Legg serves as campaign chairman. funding from Good Shepherd.

The non-profit organization’s fundraising efforts come after the announcement of a few other projects it is involved in. Good Shepherd will redevelop the former Wilmington Fire Department lot on Carolina Beach Road to create 32 permanent, supportive housing units for the chronically homeless. The city approved the land donation at Tuesday’s council meeting.

It is also partnering with Cape Fear Collective to rehabilitate Driftwood, a 15-unit affordable housing complex, which will provide on-site services to its residents.

Money from the $20 million fundraiser will also be allocated to these multiple efforts.

“[It] didn’t make sense to tackle one thing at a time and come back two years later to see if the community supported another,” Knight said. “So we said, ‘Let’s be clear on the vision and wrap it up completely. “”

The combined effort will add 70 housing units to the community, supporting chronically homeless and disabled populations. Residents are not responsible for more than 30% of their income for rent, and even that is flexible.

The $20 million mark is still a rough estimate, Knight explained, and work is now beginning in terms of developing site plans. She said the nonprofit wanted to hire Tise-Kiester as an architect, also behind the redevelopment of SECU Lakeside, a 40-unit affordable one-bedroom unit set on 4 acres of land. located behind Legion Stadium. Good Shepherd, in partnership with Lakeside Partners of Wilmington, completed the project over a decade ago.

“He has worked with housing authorities and developed supportive housing across the state,” Knight said. “It’s a special type of multi-family construction, so there’s a lot to consider.”

Lakeside DHIC was brought into the fold to consult on the development.

“We really want to challenge what people imagine when they think about affordable housing,” Knight said. “It should be pretty, attractive, suitable for a coastal community, well-maintained and an inspired place for the people who live there and live around it.”

The new three-story structure will accommodate eight private rooms for families seeking temporary housing, double what is currently available at its main campus. The aim is to offer larger rooms, so that families have more space to relax or space to do their homework and apply for jobs; in today’s space, many people use the dining room for these activities.

Currently, family rooms are “modest,” Knight said, consisting essentially of bunk beds, and families share a combined living space.

Knight said the pandemic was enlightening for staff, in that they realized what had worked for the family shelter since 2005 might no longer be the ideal approach.

“If we could do a redesign and create what we would consider the ideal family shelter, not just a space for each family, but built to incorporate their own case management space, an enrichment space for guardians or plan fun activities,” she said, “moving it across the street will allow us to grow and do that.

More space means providing additional programs, an expanded day shelter, and private rooms for those who may need them. The existing shared family lounge will be converted into a computer lab and study library.

Knight and his team spent the summer visiting other shelters around the state to assess what works and what doesn’t.

Once the Good Shepherd’s expansion is complete, it will need to hire more employees – Knight estimates at least six to eight – to provide adequate service.

“With each of these [additions], there is an art and a science to how to get the right size for the effort? ” she says. “We want to have the widest reach that we think we can do in order to meet a large demand, but also not to go beyond what we can do well.

Good Shepherd’s goal may differ slightly from similar organizations, Knight added, in that its primary goal is “to help a family find a home.”

“It’s harder, it’s messier, and it’s more expensive, but, ultimately, more effective at not only being a safety net, but also a safe place to fall in that helps them accelerate success in whenever possible,” she said.

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