Homeward Bound moving forward on plans for a family shelter in Grand Junction
Homeward Bound, a Grand Junction nonprofit homeless shelter, is seeking to expand with a new family-focused facility tentatively named “Hope’s Path.” Shelter officials are currently seeking assistance from the City of Grand Junction to purchase land for the structure.
In 2012, GJ city councilors awarded Homeward Bound with a federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $109,071. That money was “to be used toward property acquisition for improvement and expansion of the community homeless shelter,” a recent city document said.
That CDBG money, however, was not spent last year. So, city council approved its use for land acquisition at Wednesday’s City Council meeting (Aug. 7).
Homeward Bound’s search for land is underway, though a parcel has not yet been picked. Homeward Bound board members are currently looking for properties in Grand Junction from 2.5 to 3 acres.
Having a new family-focused center will realize a big goal for Homeward Bound Executive Director Douglas Karl, who recently came on as the nonprofit’s new leader. He wants Homeward Bound to be seen as the first step toward becoming a vital member of the community, not the last stop for people in crisis.
The new family center will likely include 80 beds and eight family units, with flexible space to accommodate varying capacities.
“The real need is to expand,” Karl said at a Monday, Aug. 5, City Council work session.
According to Karl, after a new family facility (focused on providing a safe environment for women and children) is constructed, the current homeless shelter, located at 2853 North Ave., will be upgraded and used primarily for single men. Having two shelters will also allow Homeward Bound to better separate those with addiction problems and mental-health issues from others who seek assistance.
The CDBG grant money will help Karl acquire land for the family center, and he expects to be able to fund the rest of the project through private giving, foundation grants, along with state and national grants. A capital fundraising campaign will likely kick off in fall 2013.
Homeward Bound aims to have its new family facility fully functioning by 2015.
“It will always be a big issue,” Councilor Phyllis Norris said of Grand Junction’s homeless population at Monday’s work session (Aug. 5). “I think staff should help them (Homeward Bound) move forward.”
Councilor Marty Chazen, who recently toured Homeward Bound’s North Avenue location, also said his experience there was “very sobering.” He supports their services.
In a year, the Homeward Bound homeless shelter on North Avenue provides just under 50,000 bed-nights to people in need, and just over 100,000 meals served. It can house between 140-150 during the winter, but with only 127 beds it often operates in overflow.
“We also provide very basic medical day care,” Karl said, who noted it wasn’t actual medical care but a place where sick people may simply stay in bed.
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