Ground broken for homeless shelter

April 18th, 2008    Author: Michael Bradley    Filed Under: News

Clermont Community Services held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new James Sauls Homeless Shelter April 14.

“This is a wonderful day and a major event for us,” said CCS board president Joyce Richardson. “We have waited a long time to get this new shelter started.”

Indeed, the path that CCS has been on since the idea for the new county homeless shelter was born three years ago – the current homeless shelter is dilapidated and hopelessly inadequate – has been a very rocky one.

It took many county agencies, with more of a united grassroots approach to the project, and many community members and leaders to secure the land and the funding needed to make the new homeless shelter now become reality.

The CCS Board of Directors and CCS staff celebrated the groundbreaking of the new James Sauls Homeless Shelter April 14. From left is Joyce Richardson, Phyllis Smith, Thea Kellum, Carolyn McIntosh, Billie Kuntz, Gregg Conrad, Chris Imbus, Lou Dimmerman, Mary Jane West, Joe Spaulding, Debbie Schwey, Leann Townes, and Ann Ferguson.
The new James Sauls Homeless Shelter, which will be built directly behind the old Batavia Township Trustee building/Central Joint Fire Department on Old St. Rt. 32, was leased out to CCS by the Batavia Township trustees in January of this year.

The homeless shelter, which will be built at a cost of an estimated $472,000, of which $410,000 has already been donated, still needs an additional $62,000 for completion.

Donations can still be made to the homeless shelter at Clermont Community Services, 3003 Hospital Drive, Batavia, Ohio, 45103.

The 4,600-square-foot homeless shelter will be able to provide food and shelter for 37 people a day, said CCS executive director Billie Kuntz. In years past, the current county's homeless shelter has had to turn away hundreds of people (almost 500 in 2007).

"We have been working on this project for over three years," she said. "Many people have donated their time, money, and efforts to make this happen. We couldn't be more grateful to everyone who has helped and will continue to help in the future."

Kuntz said that she will forever hold this effort in her heart as a time when countless people reached out to help those in need and to be part of such a worthy project.

Despite being short of their goal by $62,000, CCS is expecting construction to start on the facility this summer.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, which attracted 40 people, an optimistic and very appreciative Richardson said that the new building will help the county's homeless population who are oftentimes ignored and forgotten.

"We are so excited that this is finally happening," the director said. "Good things do happen to those who wait."
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