Donations Part of $1 Million Fundraising Campaign
Two years ago, the Virginia Beach City Council adopted an ambitious plan to end homelessness. A major part of that plan is building a Housing Resource Center, with day services for homeless people, temporary emergency shelter and community services to prevent homelessness.
Recently, congregants at two Virginia Beach churches made substantial contributions to move that plan closer to reality.
- On Sunday, July 12, the congregation at Beach Fellowship Church donated $130,000 to help support operations at the center.
- The previous week, the congregation at Wave Church donated $50,000 for the same purpose.
The city will build the three-story, $39 million Housing Resource Center at 104 N. Witchduck Road, near Southern Boulevard. It will replace and expand upon the services offered at the Lighthouse Center, a gathering place for homeless people at the Oceanfront that provides laundry, showers and other essential services.
The new Housing Resource Center will include a 40-bed short-term shelter for families with children, 32 shelter beds for single adults and 30 affordable efficiency apartments. It also will provide expanded day services, including classrooms and a health clinic, and office space for city agencies and private groups that work with families and individuals to prevent homelessness.
Construction will start in spring 2016. The center is scheduled to open in late 2017.
The city will pay for the entire cost of building the Housing Resource Center, but private donations will help operate the center. In December, Sessoms launched a $1 million fundraising drive to support the center. The mayor also is leading the formation of a fundraising foundation to continue the campaign and guide the use of the funds raised.
Ray Bjorkman, pastor of Beach Fellowship Church, has played a leading role in fighting homelessness in Virginia Beach. He was the first chairman of the BEACH Community Partnership, a coalition of nonprofit, faith and government organizations coordinating their efforts to address homelessness, and led the group’s fundraising efforts.
Pastor Steve Kelly of Wave Church has been actively involved with the fundraising campaign and assisting our city’s homeless.
“A measure of any great city is how its citizens treat people who are less fortunate,” Sessoms said. “I call on all Virginia Beach residents to show their compassion by giving generously to the charities of their choice.”