Home Harrisonburg faces uncertain timeline for homeless center due to supply chain, cost issues

Harrisonburg faces uncertain timeline for homeless center due to supply chain, cost issues

harrisonburg homeless services center shelter
1111 North Main Street, photo courtesy City of Harrisonburg

The City of Harrisonburg’s goal to offer a 24/7 day center and low-barrier night and cold-weather shelter for the homeless has been delayed due to proposed construction costs and supply chain issues.

The goal of the city had been to have beds open by the end of the year for the Homeless Services Center at 1111 N. Main Street.

However, the City provided an update Friday with some disappointing news.

While bids for the construction project closed June 15, no contractors were able to complete work by Jan. 5, 2024. The alternate date of April 5 was also ruled out. It appears the city is pushing the completion date back almost a full year to Fall 2024.

“After reviewing what was received, the City has decided it is in the best interest of the project and City taxpayers to re-bid construction of the project. We are appreciative of the interest we received in the project from numerous contractors,” read a statement from Michael Parks, Department of Communications, with the City of Harrisonburg.

Uncertainties in the supply chain and the accelerated construction timeline escalated the project cost. The funding for the center comes from a combination of American Rescue Plan Act funds and taxpayer funds.

“The City believes it is the most financially prudent decision to pursue a re-bid with a new completion date of Oct. 5, 2024,” said Parks. “The project team will continue to work with a selected contractor to achieve completion as quickly as possible and to ensure the facility is open in Fall 2024.”

While the City had hoped to step in for the upcoming winter with the new center, it appears that Open Doors as well as the faith community will need to provide for the homeless for another season.

“We know that every day this facility is not completed it is another day where individuals are having to make difficult choices about where they can shelter and facing hardships that are impossible to fathom for those of us who have never experienced such challenges,” Parks said. “Harrisonburg City Council and City staff are committed to bringing this project to fruition so those experiencing homelessness in our community will always have a safe place to go in our city.

“Though hurdles have presented themselves along the way, we have remained focused on the end goal of creating a thriving, impactful center in our community that supports those individuals that so many great agencies in our community work so hard to serve.

“We are appreciative of the support of these organizations as we set our sights on the completion of this effort, and we know we will get there only by continuing to work together.”

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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.