On December 29, 2014, the Columbian newspaper reported, “Open House Ministries has cleared space for a new Multi-Purpose Building that it hopes to build just north of its family homeless shelter in downtown Vancouver”. The demolition project marked the end of an era in the neighborhood. It was also the pivotal event to launch of the Open House Ministries’ Multi-Purpose Building Project to better serve homeless families in our community.
This project is the result of years of planning and a vision of the Board of Directors and staff of Open House Ministries. The previous historic building had a colorful past, sometimes housing neighbors with habits at cross-purposes with the clean and sober environment of Open House. With much prayer and hard work, the staff and board resolved to make positive change to replace the structure with one that could better serve our community. Through two most generous donations, Open House Ministries was able to purchase the property in February, 2014. Throughout the rest of the year, staff coordinated resident relocation and then clean-up of the property in preparation for the demolition. By the end of the year in 2014, the land was cleared.
Today, the Multi-Purpose Building Project is progressing, thanks to many private donations and several grants from local foundations. The goal is to build a new 15,558 square foot Family Resource Center adjacent to the Open House shelter and Open House retail shops on 13th street. The Multi-Purpose Building will serve the families in the Open House shelter with a flexible space that can be used for safe children activities, recreational play and programs, large meetings, worship services and community events. Other space on the first and second floors will be used for program offices, job training, skill building classes, and meeting rooms. Relocation of staff offices to the new resource center will facilitate repurposing current “offices” in the existing shelter back to their original permitted use for apartments.
A multi-step capital campaign is underway to fund the building project to complete the first two floors (Phase I), with a stretch goal to finish the third floor (Phase II) after the first phase is funded. Once the appropriate due diligence and permitting process are completed, we will be able to project the date to break ground, hopefully in the first half of 2017. Our Building Committee, led by local building industry professionals, projects that such a schedule would allow the opening of the building in 2018.
Jesus said “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14,16). Thanks to our faithful friends and supporters, we are able to make an impact in the lives of the hundreds who come through the shelter, and additional hundreds with whom we interface throughout the year.
For more information, or to donate to the Multi-Purpose Building Capital Campaign, please call the Open House Ministries Development Office at 360-356-3770.