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Money shortfall might keep REACH from finishing building

October 01, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

REACH needs $250,000 to finish paying for the organization's new cold weather shelter for the homeless.

"We're going on faith folks, anything you can do to help us raise money we would appreciate it," Capital Campaign Chairman Tom Newell told a tour group Thursday.

The group of about 40 politicians and community supporters were invited to see REACH's new offices under construction at Christ's Reformed United Church of Christ at 140 W. Franklin St.

In February, REACH, which stands for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless, launched a campaign to raise $750,000 to renovate a 7,800-square-foot area on the building's third floor. While several area churches and community groups have offered financial support, it's still not enough.

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"We just passed our $500,000 point," REACH Executive Director Terri Baker said.

Newell said he feared construction on the project might have to be halted if the remaining $250,000 isn't raised.

"From the outside the building looks finished, but inside there is still a lot of work to be done. We invited people in to show them we're far from complete," Newell said, raising his voice to make himself heard over the sound of drills as workers prepared to hang drywall and install insulation.

Part of the $750,000 will include a $202,300 advance leasing fee, which Baker said REACH will pay to cover the organization's rent for the full 30-year lease.

"That's so that we can be rent-free. We'll have a lease for 30 years, which is much easier for a small nonprofit," she said.

The new location will bring REACH's cold weather shelter, 24-hour crisis intervention program and faith in action programs under one roof. The new location will be equipped with a laundry, a full-service kitchen, shower and has 55 total beds for men and women.

"By having a permanent site, people will be able to find us and we'll be able to bring more community resources here," Baker said.

In 2003, more than 800 volunteers donated 21,000 hours of their time to assist approximately 1,700 people being served by REACH programs, Baker said.

The cold weather shelter will open this year on Nov. 14 at First Christian Church on North Potomac. If REACH is successful in raising an additional $250,000, the organization will move into its new location in February.

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