Home City moves forward on purchase of permanent homeless shelter property

City moves forward on purchase of permanent homeless shelter property

HarrisonburgThe City of Harrisonburg has moved forward on a key goal of the Harrisonburg City Council and its mission to address available housing for all.

The city has a contract to purchase 3.72 acres of land and a 6,730-square-foot building at 1111 North Main Street.

The property is being purchased with the intention that it becomes the location for Harrisonburg’s permanent low-barrier shelter for adults experiencing homelessness.

The City will pay $700,000 for the property, with additional future costs anticipated for converting the property into a suitable location for the services to be provided. Closing on the purchase of the property should occur within 60 days.

For the Harrisonburg City Council, the purchase is a monumental achievement for city council members.

“For more than two years now, city staff and I have met at least monthly with our homelessness service providers so we all can understand and discuss the needs of individuals in our community who are experiencing homelessness and how best we can address those needs,” Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed said. “With this purchase, we are making a lasting investment in the health and welfare of those in our community in most need of our support and compassion. I am very proud of our Council, staff and community nonprofits who came together to make this vision a reality. “

The current low-barrier shelter in Harrisonburg is being operated by the nonprofit Open Doors and is located on the campus of James Madison University. City council and city staff will continue to work closely with Open Doors leadership to meet low-barrier overnight shelter needs in Harrisonburg.

“This is exciting progress toward a permanent facility that will positively impact those experiencing homelessness in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County,” Open Doors Board of Directors President Graham Witt said.

City staff is currently working to advance the next steps for the project, which will include identifying a timeline for retrofitting the building for shelter use, negotiating a lease for shelter operations, and developing options for expansion of the building.

More information is online at www.HarrisonburgVA.gov.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.