$500,000 Needed for New Shelter (Faith House)

The Frederick Rescue Mission needs to raise about $500,000 in order to move forward with opening a new shelter for women and children.

Faith House could open in early 2015.

“We do not want another winter of people being on the streets,” Rescue Mission board member Barry Salisbury said.

About $1.8 million needs to be raised in order to open Faith House, according to Tommy Skaggs, the mission’s development director. He said the building itself, plus 12 adjacent apartments, cost $1.2 million.

The other funding will go toward startup and operating costs, Skaggs said. These include renovations such as a new kitchen, more bathrooms, a security system and camera, and staff.

Roughly $500,000 has already been raised through gifts and pledges, according to Skaggs. Additionally, he said the Ausherman Family Foundation has pledged $200,000 at building settlement, in addition to matching other donations up to $300,000. The foundation will double its matches for donations above $10,000, Skaggs said.

To help raise the additional $500,000, the Friends of the Frederick Rescue Mission is holding a Faith House Fundraising Dinner on Oct. 22 at Dutch’s Daughter restaurant.

Awaiting zoning approval

The shelter, Faith House, is proposed to be at 731 N. Market St. in Frederick. The building currently houses the Interfaith Housing Alliance. Once zoning approval is granted to change the location from residential to institutional, the Rescue Mission would settle on the building’s sale, and the housing alliance would move to a new location in Frederick.

This would be the second of two family shelters coming to Frederick County. The Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs has started a program that shelters families at Asbury United Methodist Church during the day and numerous rotating churches at night. In addition to women and children, this shelter would allow men and teenagers up to 17 years old.

The Faith House would house about eight to 10 women and their children, ages 12 and younger. The women would work with case managers and have 90-day plans working on issues such as addiction, employment, life skills, health and spirituality. These plans could be extended another 90 days if significant progress was being made.

The public will have a chance to comment on the shelter Monday night when the Frederick Planning Commission holds the first of two planned hearings on Faith House.

The second hearing is scheduled for Nov. 10.

These hearings are being held in addition to previous ones because the city did not provide the Rescue Mission with the needed signage within a 15-day window, according to Gabrielle Dunn, Frederick manager of current planning. Dunn said this was a mistake on the part of her department, and signage has since been added stating that an application has been made for rezoning.

Mission personnel attended a July meeting with the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, whose members live near the proposed shelter. Some residents expressed concern about the values of their houses decreasing due to an institutionally zoned building being in their neighborhood. Other residents said they had been promised that the building would never become a shelter.

At the NAC meeting, Rescue Mission Executive Director Arnold Farlow told residents that children staying at the shelter would always be supervised by adults. Casework for mothers would be done while children were in school, and programs would be organized for them during the summer.

The children would still attend their former schools rather than the schools in the neighborhood of the shelter. A curfew would be in place, and the shelter would be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by people trained in CPR, first aid and mental health, he said.

Salisbury reiterated this week that the shelter and its adjoining area would never become a “hangout.” This has never been the case with the mission’s current shelter for men, she said, continuing that one feature to the program is learning to be a good neighbor.

“The mission changes people’s lives, and they become wonderful people to be around and an asset to the community,” she said.