Thursday, December 7, 2023

Good Shepherd’s homeless housing project gets another boost

The Adrian B. Rhodes Armed Forces Reserve Center was demolished in 2014 to make way for Lakeside Reserve, an affordable housing complex for homeless adults with disabilities. File photo.
The Adrian B. Rhodes Armed Forces Reserve Center was demolished in 2014 to make way for Lakeside Reserve, an affordable housing complex for homeless adults with disabilities. File photo.

An apartment complex to permanently house the homeless has received another boost in funding for construction.

Good Shepherd Center’s Lakeside Reserve has received $75,000 from The Champion McDowell Davis Charitable Foundation, a Wilmington organization primarily focused on health care, that supports causes that benefit senior citizens and the homeless, among others.

“The Champion McDowell Davis Charitable Foundation has been a loyal and generous supporter to Good Shepherd and its programs to end hunger and homelessness in our community,” Good Shepherd’s executive director Katrina Knight said.

In the works for nearly a decade, Lakeside Reserve will consist of 40 units of affordable housing for single adults with disabilities, including seniors and veterans.

Last month, Good Shepherd Center announced that State Employees Credit Union had given $1 million toward the $5 million complex at the former Adrian B. Rhodes Armed Forces Reserve Center, 2144 W. Lake Shore Drive, behind Legion Stadium and near Greenfield Lake.

Good Shepherd has been quietly collecting funds for Lakeside Reserve since last year, said senior development director Jane Birnbach. To date, the non-profit has raised a total of approximately $3.5 million, including SECU’s gift, from a combination private and public grants and contributions.

This latest donation will help with the cost of the complex’s community room, which will be named in honor of a longstanding member of the Davis foundation, Cyrus D. Hogue, Jr. and his wife, Mary Ann Dixon Hogue.

As it gets ever closer to its $5 million goal, Good Shepherd is planning to break ground on the site this summer. It’s a groundbreaking years in the making, with plans in place since 2006 to create permanent and supportive housing for homeless individuals with disabilities.

“Research shows that this is the group that is hardest to get re-housed and more challenging and more vulnerable in the community,” Birnbach noted in an earlier interview.

Discussions of Lakeside Reserve began 10 years ago when the Armed Forces building was identified under the federal Base Closure Community Redevelopment and Homeless Assistance Act of 1994, which mandates reuse of bases for the purpose of assisting the local homeless population.

Under the act, the property was ceded to the City of Wilmington, which was then responsible for demolishing the building and handing over the site to the proper party. That demolition work was completed in 2014.

Plans for Lakeside Reserve include 16 units housed in one building that also has a community kitchen, shared space and offices. The Cyrus D. Hogue, Jr. and Mary Ann Dixon Hogue Community Room at Lakeside will be open to residents for a variety of enrichment activities, like “financial literacy classes, social events and tenant council meetings as well as a gathering place for other residential activities,” Birnbach said.

It’s the kind of long-term change Good Shepherd is hoping to make with the city’s homeless population.

“Affordable housing is really the only way to find a solution to homelessness,” she said.

Rent at Lakeside Reserve will be set at 30 percent of a resident’s monthly income, so some form of employment or government assistance is a requisite. A person who receives $700 a month in aid or as a part-time employee, for example, would have a rent payment of $210.

Lakeside Reserve will usher in its first batch of residents in 2017. While moving tenants into those one-bedroom apartments, work will begin on the second phase – six buildings with four apartments each.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at

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