Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Good Shepherd to receive $336K from city property sales, federal funds

Good Shepherd to receive funds from the city toward pre-development work on new permanent supportive housing at 2929 Carolina Beach Road. (Port City Daily/Amy Passaretti Willis)

[Update: Wilmington City Council unanimously approved the funds at its May 16 meeting]

WILMINGTON — Additional funds from the city are being funneled into nonprofit service providers that assist the homeless.

If approved by city council Tuesday, Good Shepherd could receive an additional $126,578 toward its redevelopment efforts to construct a 33-unit permanent supportive housing complex to go on Carolina Beach Road, previously home to a fire station. The apartments would be eligible for the chronically homeless and those with disabilities.

READ MORE: City to donate former fire station land, partner with Good Shepherd for homeless housing

The city would chip in $25,000 from the sale of the old bus depot at 1110 Castle St., with $101,578 coming from remaining proceeds of the Optimist Park sale.

The Castle Street property was sold in a sealed bid process for $870,000, and this is the first use of the money, set aside for affordable housing initiatives.

Council received $162,688 in additional proceeds from the Optimist Park sale in June 2022. Up to $43,000 has been spent as a reimbursement to Eden Village for a tiny house, and $18,110 was used to demolish the former fire station on Carolina Beach Road in October.

The money to be approved Tuesday will help Good Shepherd with pre-development efforts for the housing project, including preparation of an environmental assessment, costs related to architectural design, engineering consulting, and site security. 

Approved in September, the city donated to Good Shepherd the Wilmington Fire Department station at 3939 Carolina Beach Road, declared surplus in 2019. The 1-acre land has been rezoned to a high-density, multiple-dwelling district to allow for the permanent supportive housing upfit.

According to the city’s provisions, the property must be used for affordable housing in perpetuity or be given back to the government entity; buildings cannot exceed three stories and the site must be secured on three sides with fencing.

Good Shepherd executive director Katrina Knight said she asked about pre-development funding assistance a year ago when inquiring about the deed to the fire station. She submitted a letter requesting the money earlier this year formally.

The nonprofit remains the largest shelter in New Hanover County. With the closing of Salvation Army, Good Shepherd is the only one accepting men, women, and families with children, Knight said. Recently, it reported as many as 99 adults and children staying there.

“The need to invest in affordable housing is beyond the point of crisis,” Knight told Port City Daily. “Developing this property as permanent supportive housing will move chronically homeless persons with disabilities from unsheltered homelessness to stable housing and relieve pressure on our shelter by moving our more fragile adults directly to their own units with supportive services.”

The new facility will include case managers on site and transportation, counseling, and skills training services, to provide full-time support to residents.

Tenants are charged 30% of their income, skewed to zero. Meaning those who don’t currently have an income will not be prevented from attaining housing, Knight confirmed.

The nonprofit has contracted with low-income homebuilder DHIC out of Raleigh for development technical assistance with the Carolina Beach Road units. It’s the same entity that developed Lakeside Reserve — a 40-unit permanent supportive housing complex on Lake Shore Drive that opened in 2017.

Good Shepherd launched its Home for Good campaign in September, with a lofty goal to raise $20 million, for multiple projects, including expanding its shelter, continued operations, increased staffing, and developing more units of permanent supportive housing. This encompasses the Carolina Beach Road project and Driftwood — a 15-unit complex. 

Good Shepherd needs to secure $4.2 million by late July to compete in a public funding application for the Carolina Beach Road site; the nonprofit has to prove community commitment before applying for project grants. Already $2.75 million has been committed; Knight said she hopes to break ground by spring 2024.

“But we are confident that the community is going to rally to see us through to that milestone,” Knight said. 

In other funding opportunities, the city is voting to dole out $338,130 to nonprofits in federal funds for nonprofits supporting homelessness. Good Shepherd is one of the recipients.

A request for proposals was released in December for organizations to apply for the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development money, to be used directly toward emergency shelter and associated services for those experiencing homelessness.

ALSO: City offering $388K to organizations for homelessness services and shelter

Good Shepherd scored the highest among six applicants and will receive $210,725. The nonprofit has received some annual amount of Community Development Block Grant funds for more than 20 years.

“Good Shepherd will use our award for shelter operations, still, but also for emergency stays in motel for homeless guests needing isolation when they test positive for Covid,” Knight said.

Only four organizations were chosen for awards. Other CDBG funds, to be used for shelters and case management, are going to:

  • Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Inc. — $66,800
  • Family Promise of the Lower Cape Fear — $40,00 
  • First Fruit Ministries — $19,920 

According to allowable uses, the CDBG funds can also be spent on time-limited rent or utility payments as part of a rehousing effort for the homeless population.

Applicants were scored and evaluated on experience, organizational capacity, fiscal management, budget, comprehensive case management and participation in coordinated entry and Homeless Management Information System.

The latter two are HUD-required for the Cape Fear Continuum of Care, which is managed by the Cape Fear Council of Governments.

City council will vote Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to allocate the funds.

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