Home Harrisonburg: Contractor selected for homeless center; completion set for fall 2024

Harrisonburg: Contractor selected for homeless center; completion set for fall 2024

Crystal Graham
homeless services center harrisonburg downtown
Homeless Services Center concept, submitted

The Homeless Services Center is moving forward now that the City of Harrisonburg has selected its builder for the complex. Nielsen Builders has been selected as the construction contractor for the project.

A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for next week on Sept. 14.  The groundbreaking ceremony is open to the community at 10:30 a.m. at 1111 N. Main St.

Nielsen Builders prepares to begin construction on the project starting in mid-September.

The Homeless Services Center is a key priority for Harrisonburg City Council. The goal had been to open the center by the end of 2023 but due to construction costs and supply issues, the timeline proved to be unrealistic. The city re-bid the project with a new completion date of Oct. 5, 2024.

Nielsen Builders agreed to a timeline that will see construction completed by Oct. 4, 2024, in order for sheltering services to be available at the center for the start of the cold weather season in November 2024.

“Nielsen is excited to be a part of this project that will have such a positive impact in our community,” said Nielsen Builders President Dan Hylton. “We are not only building a building, we are assisting in building better lives for those in need, and for that we are grateful.”

The team will construct an addition to the house that is already located on the property which the city purchased from the Shenandoah Presbytery in June 2022.

The project, which will allow for an overnight low-barrier emergency shelter and daytime drop-in center, comes as Harrisonburg City Council seeks to address the needs of those experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in the community.

Such a project, where individuals could be connected with support from local nonprofits in addition to being provided shelter, was identified by the city in 2019 as a vital tool in assuring available housing for all.

“The city, along with the nonprofits in our community that do such important work to support unhoused community members, is dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of those who need our care and love,” said Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed. “This center will provide a place where people can go to feel safe and valued, while receiving the support and opportunity they need to begin moving their lives forward.”

A competitive request for proposal process to select an operator for the sheltering services and drop-in program will close on Oct. 27.

Any organization in the community wishing to be involved in preparation for opening of the Homeless Services Center may contact Harrisonburg Acting Deputy City Manager Amy Snider to discuss the project at [email protected].

More information is available at https://harrisonburgva.gov/homeless-services-center.

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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.