The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 22, 2013

Lake County homeless shelter plans to expand


Star Beacon

CONCORD TOWNSHIP — The Board of Trustees and network members of the Ecumenical Shelter Network of Lake County, Inc., d.b.a. Project Hope for the Homeless, voted Thursday to approve architectural plans for a building addition at 25 Freedom Road. The addition, scheduled to be complete by the beginning of 2014, will add 5,200 square feet to the existing shelter space.

“2-1-1 of Lake County reported a yearly average of 776 calls turned away between 2010 and 2012 because the shelter was at capacity,” said Judy Burr, executive director at the Ecumenical Shelter Network. “Even with rapid re-housing and subsidies, demand remains at the front end of the continuum for emergency care. We need to be equipped to meet the needs of more people with more serious barriers.”

A design/build team consisting of Burr, Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap, Facilities Manager Nancy Leyden, retired builder Art Sidley, construction manager Mike Warmington of Graper & Warmington, and Dave Wiles and Andrew Torowski of CT Consultants met regularly to discuss the needs of the current homeless population and create a working plan.

“The design/build team took great care in the development of the plans for this space,” Burr said. “It will be cost-effective, energy efficient, and built to accommodate only what is needed for growth.”

The privately-funded, utilitarian design will include a separate family center with three family bedrooms to provide privacy and safety for children and parents; a study room for school-age children; an indoor family common area; an updated kitchen and shelter common area; a separate women’s dormitory for security and privacy; a fenced, secure children’s playground; a receiving room; additional storage for in-kind goods; and private offices for client consultation.

Burr explains the goals for these improvements are centered on the shelter’s mission to respond to the human hurts and hopes of those who are homeless in Lake County by providing emergency shelter, care, and guidance in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ.

“This provision will help us keep families intact, safe, and less traumatized, improve our operational efficiency, and position the organization for increased capacity,” she said.

Since 1993, the Ecumenical Shelter Network of Lake County, Inc., has been operating Project Hope for the Homeless, the only emergency homeless shelter in Lake County. The nightly program has sheltered the homeless, providing food and nourishment for their bodies and souls, and has helped more than 3,200 individuals since it first opened.

The Ecumenical Shelter Network has launched Building on a Strong Foundation, a capital campaign to raise the financial support needed to complete this project. To learn more about the campaign, call (440) 354-6417, or email director@projecthopeonline.org. Don-ations can be made out to ESN Strong Foundation, PO Box 2035, Painesville, OH 44077.