Westview House: The new shelter for families

 

Family Shelter rendering

Introduction:  In early September 2019, Hope Station will open Westview House, Wilson’s first shelter for families who are experiencing homelessness.  We are grateful for generous support from individuals, churches, businesses, and foundations that is making one more step toward ending homelessness possible.

What is the history of this project?

• 2015:  Westview Christian Church was among the founders of Hope Station in 1987. Upon its decision to conclude its visible ministry, the congregation selected Hope Station’s homeless ministries to help preserve the church’s legacy in the community. The congregation expressed particular interest in designating a portion of their legacy funds for developing a shelter for homeless families.
• 2016: In July 2016, the Hope Station board accepted the church’s gift of $150,000 with the intention of developing a much-needed shelter for homeless families.
In October 2016, Hope Station purchased the house at 310 Tarboro Street, in one of Wilson’s historic districts and adjacent to Hope Station’s current property to house the shelter.
• Current status:  Renovation of the house began December 31, 2019, following plans approved by the city of Wilson and the Historic Preservation Commission.  The shelter will open in September 2019.

Why this location?  State statutes prohibit the development of a shelter project within 1/4 mile of an existing similar program.  However, programs are permitted to expand their existing property, which was made possible when the 310 Tarboro Street became available.  This location will enable Hope Station to operate with the efficiency of a “campus,” rather than with a satellite location elsewhere in the community.  In addition, most of our partners that help meet the needs of persons experiencing homelessness are located within a reasonable walking distance from Hope Station.

How is Hope Station paying for the new shelter?  A $450,000 capital campaign is underway to support the renovation costs, as well as the costs for furnishing the shelter and some remodeling in the current building for additional staffing for the new shelter. It is estimated that operating the new shelter will cost an additional $100,000-125,000 annually. The Westview Christian Church gift of $150,000 will help fund a portion of the operations for several years, along with additional church, individual, corporate, and civic gifts.  READ MORE about the capital campaign.

What about the design and floor plan?  The exterior of the building will be a renovation of the current architectural design.  The new shelter will include four bedrooms with four beds each (2 sets of bunkbeds). Each will have a door to a hallway. Three of the bedrooms will be connected by pocket doors that will make it possible to accommodate larger families by opening the doors to adjacent rooms.  While there will be 16 beds in the shelter, in accordance with the city’s occupancy code, client capacity generally will be limited to around 12 clients, plus the Night Supervisor.

The shelter will include a living room, kitchen/dining room, learning center, laundry facilities, two toilet rooms, two bathing rooms, and an office for the Night Supervisor.
In addition, the front of the house will feature a large front porch, a handicap ramp at the rear of the house, access to the current building from the back of the property, and a playground on the property of the current building.  Parking will be available in the main parking lot at First Christian Church, a half a block away.

Who will reside in the new shelter?  Once a shelter is designated as a family shelter, there can be no restrictions on the gender or definition of family for admission to the shelter. Therefore, when sufficient beds are available, the emergency shelter will be open to single mothers or fathers with children, to single women, to couples with children, and to couples without children. Generally, single men will continue to be served by Hope Station’s 31-year-old shelter program for homeless men.