BULLHEAD CITY — Scores of community members were invited Monday to a Hard Hat Tour to see how much progress has been made on construction of the BHHS Legacy Foundation Christine Stamper Center for Help & Hope.
There also was hope guests would see the progress made so far and feel motivated to donate money to building the $2.8 million homeless shelter and daytime resource center. Catholic Charities Community Services still needs about $430,000 in matching funds.
BHHS Legacy Foundation will provide the $1.4 million in seed money for the shelter.
Under construction on North Oatman Road near Miracle Mile, the 10,000-plus-square-foot location is scheduled to open next spring. The facility will house up to 57 people and there will be private rooms for veterans and families as well as case management and health services for homeless people around the Tri-state, according to Catholic Charities.
Blake Stamper was among those who spoke to people who came to see what has been accomplished so far. He acknowledged that while the community’s homeless can be hard to see, they nonetheless are out there and very much in need of help.
“The goal is to provide a safe place to get them off the streets,” Stamper said.
Stamper’s family donated $500,000 toward construction of the shelter in memory of their matriarch, Ruby Christine Stamper.
“You can’t leave your neighbor by the side of the road if you follow the spirit of the good Samaritan,” said Paul Mulligan, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Community Services.
The story in the Bible is about a man attacked by robbers, left beaten and unclothed. He was helped by a Samaritan, after a Levite and a priest ignored him. Jews and Samaritans were opponents but helping those in distress must transcend even hatred one might hold. Mercy is supposed to always be the answer when dealing with one’s neighbors, according to Luke 10.
“The miracles that will happen in this shelter,” Mulligan added.
The annual goal is to use the center to provide housing for 200 individuals while also offering 1,400 people needed resources, referrals and supportive services.
Long-term goals include assisting “individuals and families in securing safe, affordable housing and a solid set of skills, as well as resources to ensure housing stability,” Catholic Charities explained in a flier about the shelter.
Specifically, that would translate into 75% of the people who end up being housed there making the transition into permanent housing.
Of the people who come to the center, 75% are to be referred to and enrolled in other support services, such as mental health care, substance abuse treatment and employment services. And 50% of these people “will gain or increase income,” Catholic Charities also wrote.
“It’s exciting to see it come together,” said Jackie MacKenzie, a member of the city’s Homeless Task Force and a parishioner at Hope United Methodist Church, which helps local homeless people. She was among those who toured the construction site.
“There was a lot of thought put into it,” MacKenzie said. “I hope it becomes a vibrant part of the community.”
People interested in donating to the building effort can contact Catherine Peterson, executive director of Catholic Charities Northern Arizona Region and its vice president of program operations, at 928-830-4646 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People involved with the project emphasized that donations of up to $1,000 for Arizona couples (or $500 for singles) could be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on a state income tax return.
The organization also is interested in finding volunteers to help operate the shelter. Catholic Charities will need many more people assisting to operate the new facility than it did at the local drop-in center.