110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Renovations showcase local business’ teamwork
By Vickie Pleus
posted Feb 15, 2013 - 12:25:08pm
As of today, there are no emergency shelters for families in West Volusia County. But as of this spring, that status will change pending a successful fundraising endeavor by The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia as volunteers continue to ask local businesses and residents to support The Heart House initiative. According to The Neighborhood Center, the response so far has been heartwarming.
As of early February, $110,000 of the $200,000 goal has been collected toward supporting The Heart House at 114 W. Walts Ave., DeLand. The fundraising goal covers the four-unit apartment home’s intense renovations and two years of operating expenses. (The volunteer-led Heart House committee estimates the home’s annual operations cost at around $20,000 per year.) The money raised thus far, given by more than 60 individuals and/or organizations, has covered the purchase of the home and renovations to date.
In 2011, the a four-unit apartment home was purchased by The Neighborhood Center for $34,000 with the intention of transforming it into a much-needed emergency shelter for children and their parents. With the additional housing, says The Neighborhood Center’s Executive Director Susan Clark, the agency hopes to make a permanent impact by creating emergency family housing. Officials at The Neighborhood Center don’t plan to pull funds from existing programs to support The Heart House.
The housing initiative’s progress is moving swiftly, according to Gary Maris, Heart House committee member and vice-president at The Neighborhood Center. Electricity, plumbing, and air-conditioning have been upgraded; new outdoor stairs have been erected; and roofing crews currently are on property.
“Donations have come in at a pace largely in line with the costs of the renovation,” said Maris. “This balancing act of funds is somewhat of a moving target as we fix problems, while discovering other things that need work. But then, thankfully, more revenue comes in, and we inch above the costs. That’s how it’s been working so far, and that’s why we are hoping more donations will be sent to The Neighborhood Center, designated for The Heart House. We are so thankful to everyone who is supporting this initiative.”
A few large donations gave this drive the boost it needed to really get off the ground, according to Susan Clark, Executive Director of The Neighborhood Center. Those included donations from Betty Johnson, former Director of the Stetson University library; Ed Lacey, a retired business executive; People Helping People, a foundation supported by Stetson University faculty and staff; and an anonymous donor who kicked off the fund-drive with a $25,000 matching-funds grant.
The Heart House truly has brought out the best of business’ generosity, and renovations to The Heart House have been an impressive assembly of local talent. Participating businesses, some of which have offered labor or parts at reduced/free rates, include All Quality Products (varied supplies), AllStar Electric, Chinelli Design, Comfort Service (air-conditioning), Dickerson Construction (staircase construction), Doug Richards of Richards Development Group (General Contractor), Gary Martin (donation of Owen Corning roof shingles), John Freeland (cabinetmaking), Lloyd Wimer of Roof-It (roofing and insulation), Mullen Plumbing, Sonni Stover (Realtor® services), Todd Bullis (staircase design), and William Klomp of ABC Supply (donation of roof shingles).
Heart House Committee members are available immediately to make presentations to community organizations. Community groups may request a speaker by calling Susan Clark at The Neighborhood Center at 386-734-8120.
Pledges to The Heart House initiative can be made by mail (434 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand, FL 32720), online via PayPal or Credit Card (http://neighborhoodcenterwv.org/donate.html ), or in person to The Neighborhood Center from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 434 S. Woodland Blvd., DeLand.
For more information about The Heart House, contact Susan Clark, Executive Director, The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, at 386-734-8120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about The Heart House Campaign at http://neighborhoodcenterwv.org/hearthousecampaign.html .
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