The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners has taken action to move forward with construction of a Homeless Support Center that will provide much needed shelter beds for County residents experiencing homelessness, as well as access to programs and resources that will help them achieve sustainable housing and improve their lives.
The Homeless Support Center will be located off Grove Street between B Street and Hawley Lane. The selected site is adjacent to the former Pauline Jones Elementary School, which is currently used by Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) as an Education Center.
On Sept. 12, 2023, the Cumberland County Board of Education approved a request to convey two parcels adjacent to the former school to the County.
The County intends to partner with FTCC to provide educational opportunities for residents who utilize the Homeless Support Center. Cape Fear Valley Health System will also be a partner in this project and the County will work with other community partners to bring resources to those using the facility to assist them as they work to transition to permanent and stable housing.
Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Dr. Toni Stewart announced she will establish an advisory committee for the project that will be comprised of two residents from the B Street community, two business owners, one representative who serves and advocates for the homeless community, and one person from Community Development, along with herself, Commissioner Michael Boose and Fayetteville City Councilwoman Shakeyla Ingram.
“The need for beds in our community has not gone unnoticed by the County,” said Chairwoman Stewart in a press release. “We need beds, but we also need to change the overall living environment. There’s a lot more to be done to make that happen, but this is a significant step in that process.”
The Board of Commissioners has also selected the architectural firm LS3P to finalize the building program and design the Homeless Support Center. LS3P was selected following an RFQ process and was recommended based on their extensive experience with similar types of facilities, as well as alignment with the County’s goals of creating a welcoming and inviting space that will allow those receiving services to feel valued and understood.
County staff are currently working with LS3P to bring a contract forward for Board approval to begin working on programming and design of the Homeless Support Center. As part of that process, the County will engage various stakeholders, including members of the homeless community to provide input on what the facility will need to truly make a positive impact on the community and improve outcomes for those experiencing homelessness.
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