Westminster homeless shelter gets makeover Renovation will help serve more, manager says

July 20, 1998|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

A $400,000 project to repair and expand a dilapidated shelter for homeless families in Westminster will begin today.

Over the next few days, work crews will remove asbestos from the Family Shelter at 21 W. Green St. The two-story building is getting a complete makeover, with construction scheduled to begin next month.

The project is funded in part by two federal grants. Construction is expected to be completed in January.

"It is the most depressing place," said Karen K. Blandford, Westminster's housing and community development manager. "It's dim, dark and grungy. The roof leaks, the floor slants and 40 percent of the rear of the building is so structurally unsound that it must be demolished and rebuilt."

The shelter opened in 1989 and serves intact families -- usually both parents and their children, Blandford said. The shelter serves about 21 families each year.

The grants Westminster received to finance the project were a $350,000 community development block grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development and a $50,000 grant for rural development from the Department of Agriculture.

"We're very pleased," Blandford said. "Westminster is classified as semirural. We're not normally eligible for rural money, but we don't usually qualify for urban funding, either."

The city of Westminster has contributed $50,000, and a corporate fund-raising drive netted an additional $34,000. Much of that money was raised through the sale of tax credits, which are sold at 50 percent of their face value.

Any funds remaining after renovation is completed will be used to buy new furniture and office supplies, Blandford said.

During construction, homeless families will be housed in the women's shelter, if space is available. Two families are on the waiting list.

Once construction is completed, the city will be able to help an additional 10 to 15 families a year, Blandford said.

Pub Date: 7/20/98

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