110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
posted Nov 20, 2012 - 12:50:40pm
More than 2,000 homeless children live in Volusia County. Despite their desperate need for housing, there is currently no emergency family shelter in West Volusia.
The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia is launching a fundraising campaign asking for community support to change that. In 2011, the organization purchased a four-unit apartment home at 114 W. Walts Ave. in DeLand, planning to transform it into an emergency shelter for families.
Dubbed "The Heart House," the project has already seen community members rally around its mission in various ways. Through donations, the nonprofit agency has secured the funds that enabled purchase of the property, and renovations have begun.
Realtor Sonni Stover declined commission in support of the project, and an anonymous donor has offered $25,000 if the gift is matched by other supporters.
In addition, People Helping People, a community-service foundation created by Stetson University faculty and staff, contributed substantially to the purchase of the property.
Betty Johnson, former director of Stetson's duPont-Ball Library, made it possible to begin renovations right away with a $25,000 gift. Ed Lacey, a local retired businessman and executive, who is responsible for the development of the Lacey House for single women at The Neighborhood Center, also contributed a leadership gift to get this development started.
Several local professionals have provided or will be providing their services at reduced or no cost to The Neighborhood Center. John Freeland of Woodnight, LLC, is making custom cabinets for the apartments for free, while Doug Richards of Richards Development Group is providing pro bono general contracting work, and is providing roofing at a reduced cost. All Quality Products is providing materials at reduced costs.
West Volusia businesses Comfort Service Heating and Air Conditioning, All Star Electric, Jon Dickerson, carpentry, and Ken Mullen Plumbing have been hired for subcontract work.
Moving forward, The Neighborhood Center is embarking upon a fundraising campaign to complete The Heart House's renovation, furnish the property's four apartments, and provide the first two years of operational expenses. The Neighborhood Center has an overall fundraising goal of $200,000, of which enough has been raised to purchase the property and begin major renovations.
"It doesn't take much for a family to end up homeless. We are hopeful our community will understand the value of this service and support the effort to see this project through to fruition," said Clark.
Heart House committee members — Ann Colwell, Gary Maris and Ed Lacey — along with Director Susan Clark, are available immediately to make presentations to community organizations. Maria Bracciale is coordinating the speakers' bureau and created materials to educate local groups about The Heart House and its campaign. Community groups may request a speaker by calling Susan Clark at The Neighborhood Center at 386-734-8120.
Pledges to The Heart House project can be made by mail (434 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, FL 32720), online via PayPal or credit card (http://neighborhoodcenterwv.org/donate.html), or in person at The Neighborhood Center 9-11:30 a.m. and 1:15-4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 434 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand.
For more information about The Heart House project, contact Susan Clark, executive director of The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, at 386-734-8120 or email email@example.com. Learn more about The Heart House campaign at http://neighborhoodcenterwv.org/hearthousecampaign.html.
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