Though the shelter’s lease was set to expire Dec. 31, 2020, Gateway Domestic Violence Center Executive Director Jessica Butler said they will likely need another year to move into their new shelter.
“I hope that when all of this is over, people will look at our project and say, ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’” Butler said. “Because we’re doing really well and we’re making good progress but we are not ready to move yet.”
Butler said the owner of the property for their current shelter has allowed them to stay until they are ready to move out. She said the center’s board looked at construction estimates last year and discovered the new fundraising goal would be $4.5 million, higher than previously anticipated.
Butler said they have reached $4.1 million of their total goal, raising nearly $1.5 million over the course of 2020. She said they would like to break ground this quarter and hope to be near completion of the new project by the end of the year, meaning it might be early 2022 before the full relocation.
Butler said construction costs have increased considerably since the time they received their building estimates, and she said they also added square footage to the plan to extend the longevity of the shelter.
“As we began looking more closely at population estimates and growth estimates in the community, we realized we don’t want to build something that’s just going to work now,” Butler said. “We want a facility that’s really going to meet our needs into the future.”
Butler did not have the details on the square footage of the new shelter plan or how many people could be housed.
The 18-bed emergency shelter was built in 1984 to help women and children leaving an abusive home life. From July 2018 to June 2019, it averaged 20 people per night.
Butler said the emergency shelter housed 107 people between April and July 2020. In that same period in 2019, the number of people housed was 57.
Gateway also paid for 167 hotel nights to shelter people during that same four-month span last year. The center paid for only 26 hotel nights in the same period in 2019.