Edgerly: Planned homeless shelter may double in size

Posted: Friday, December 29, 2006

Before the first shovel of dirt has been turned, Love INC is now seriously considering doubling the size of the homeless shelter it hopes to build in Soldotna.

In a letter to City Manager Tom Boedeker, Love INC Executive Director Ingrid Edgerly said Alaska Mental Health Trust representatives in Anchorage suggested the Kenai Peninsula Christian organization consider building a shelter with 55 to 60 rooms, with the goal of becoming self-sustaining.

Love INC had presented the idea of a 30-unit shelter it hopes to build on city owned land next to the Alaska State Troopers post on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

The city has not yet taken action on deeding the property to Love INC. However, the city council in October approved a resolution authorizing a Community Development block grant application for the shelter.

Love INC wants to build the Family Hope Center, a two-story transitional housing facility on an eight-acre, triangular-shaped piece of land next to the trooper post.

Edgerly said she met with Nancy Burke of the Mental Health Trust who said Anchorage’s Safe Harbor Inn reported it needs 55 rooms in order to be self sustaining.

Dan Thornton, president of Love INC’s board of directors, said earlier, residents of the Family Hope Center, which should be thought of as a nonprofit hotel, would have to pay to stay there, “and, as with any other hotel, they would be treated as a guest.”

Eighty percent of the facility’s operating costs would be paid by the monthly fees, he said. The remaining 20 percent would need to come from donations.

Edgerly said grant funding organizations with whom she has met, recommend building the larger facility from the onset rather than building a smaller facility and adding on in phases.

Whether or not to proceed with plans for a larger facility will be decided in January, Edgerly said Thursday.

She also visited with Dennis Wise of Wise Construction, which built a 55-room women’s shelter in Fairbanks, as well as facilities on the Kenai Peninsula.

“He has offered to help us with the blueprints,” Edgerly said.

In her letter to Boedeker, Edgerly said she and Catherine DeLacee met with the Foraker Group to discuss the predevelopment aspect of the project.

DeLacee has been hired by Edgerly to conduct fundraising projects and do grant writing.

If built, “the facility would accommodate single-parent families, intact families, single adults, people with disabilities and veterans,” said Edgerly.

“Everyone staying at the Family Hope Center ... will come through case management and will be housed there on a month-to-month basis,” she said.

The shelter will not be for women in crisis or teens alone.

The original plan called for each of the 30 units to have two double beds or a combination of bunk beds and a double bed, a full bathroom, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and television set.

The building would include a kitchen, eating area, lounge, play room for children, community center, laundromat for guests and office space.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek @peninsulaclarion.com.

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