Homeless shelter, day center project in BHC breaks ground
BULLHEAD CITY — The ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday for construction of the Bullhead City Shelter and Day Center was a long-anticipated event.
A chilly wind blew across the hilly spot in the 1500 block of North Oatman Road where the shelter will be built. Dozens of people came out early in the morning to mark the occasion.
On prominent display was a big check for the amount of $1,380,500 — the challenge grant provided by BHHS Legacy Foundation. It will cover half of the overall construction cost and is the largest challenge grant Legacy has written.
“This speaks loudly as to the importance of this project for our community,” said Daniel J. Oehler, chairman of BHHS Legacy Foundation Board.
“We have to raise the same amount of money,” Catherine Peterson, executive director, Northern Arizona Region, Catholic Charities Community Services, explained later.
The estimated amount of money needed to complete the more than 10,000 square feet facility is about $2.76 million.
The organization has been working to improve the lives of vulnerable people in the region since the 1930s, said Paul Mulligan, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.
“If you want get something done in Bullhead City, get to know someone at Legacy,” Mulligan said.
Catholic Charities took no chances — a local Catholic clergy member blessed the site upon which the shelter will rest. Fr. Keith Kenney of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church sprinkled holy water on the ground and led the group in prayer.
City government officials brought out 10 golden shovels for dignitaries and volunteers who help the local homeless population to visually demonstrate their support for the project.
Bullhead City established a Homeless Task Force four years ago, said Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady.
With the start of construction of the shelter, Brady said, “Now comes an exciting new chapter in the history of Bullhead City.”
The shelter will hold up to 57 people — up to three families, 40 single men or women and eight veterans.
The aim is to provide temporary residence while ensuring a permanent solution for homeless men and women. The site will offer a variety of support services, including job, housing and treatment referrals:
A daytime drop-in resource center for those without a home to receive food, hygiene supplies, laundry facilities, showers, a computer lab and access to staff who can help these people obtain additional resources;A commercial kitchen and dining room to create meals and snacks;A complete program office with additional support services.
The project began as a 12-bed facility and BHHS Legacy allowed for a project more suited to the needs of the community, Mulligan said.
Hope is that the project is completed in October of this year. Catholic Charities anticipates opening the shelter in 2020.
For details about how to donate toward this project, contact Peterson at 928-830-4646.