Micah Ecumenical Ministries has operated its hospitality center from 1013 Princess Anne St. since 2008. Part of the success of that model has been the ability to co-locate key community services within the same space that our guests visit on a daily basis to meet their basic needs. As best practices in homeless services have started requiring a systematic and housing-focused approach, Micah has found it even more imperative to broaden these partnerships. However, we have no additional space in our current location to accomplish this goal.
As a result, we are seeking approximately 10,000 square feet of office space in the City of Fredericksburg. Multiple sites are being considered, but we hope to make a decision soon. Our vision for additional space includes:
• Central intake and housing suite in partnership with Central Virginia Housing Coalition, where those at risk or experiencing homelessness can be assessed and connected to the appropriate community resources for their housing crisis. People who are at risk of homelessness can be supported with prevention assistance, while the already homeless can be connected with an area shelter or access Micah’s basic need services.
• Basic needs suite that accommodates the hospitality center’s existing services (i.e. food, showers, clothing, resource navigation, mental health outreach, mail service, laundry)
• Education and employment suite, including a job help center, classroom and partnerships with Rappahannock Adult Education, Rappahannock Goodwill, as well as Micah’s income assistance staff.
• Community assistance suite, including a mini-clinic for sick visits, therapist office, and flexible offices for the veteran’s administration, social services, and other key services to make regular visits.
• Administrative offices and storage.
Micah, a Christ-centered ministry, is supporting people experiencing chronic homelessness and identifying pathways to sustainable housing. Our vision is to end homelessness in the Fredericksburg region. The agency was formed out of the hearts of downtown Fredericksburg churches in 2005, as a way to coordinate resources and address the needs of the street homeless. We have grown from an agency that focused primarily on basic needs to one that offers wrap around services to stabilize the most vulnerable homeless individuals in permanent housing.
Micah has track record of spearheading community efforts that resulted in a 58% decrease in chronic homelessness in the last five years. Re-locating and diversifying the hospitality center services will not only further the vision for Micah’s existing target population, it will improve the entire community’s ability to respond to housing crises so that homelessness is prevented when possible, brief when it occurs at all, and ultimately non-recurrent.
How you can help:
This project is, by far, the largest endeavor Micah has taken on in its ten year history. We will need every bit of financial, political and spiritual power you can lend. There will be many ways that you can help us bring this project to fruition over the next few months. Here’s what you can do right now:
Opening a new building costs money. Whatever site we choose will require a number of inspections, down payments, purchasing cash and of course renovations. Early estimations expect the total project to cost $1,5 million. Please, consider ways that you are able to support this project in your annual giving.
We will have to overcome some zoning issues before a site can be secured. The city planning department has determined that we do not fit into any definition in the current zoning ordinance. Therefore, they have proposed an amendment to add a social service use. That definition is currently working its way through the process and will be heard by the planning commission in April. Stay tuned for more information on how you can assist us with that discussion.
It is no secret that people have mixed feelings about Micah and especially the people it serves. We believe this has a lot to do with false understandings about who our guests are and the circumstances that have brought them to our doors. While many have been educated over the years, plenty have lots to learn. Please pray that the true compassion and conscience of this community will emerge. Pray for us as we continue to educate and navigate this process. And pray for those who will ultimately decide how city zoning effects Micah’s ability to help people better in the future.
In the meantime…
Do whatever you can to link people to us.
• Sign them up to receive our Word on the Street
• Follow us on social media
• Tell people what you know about Micah
• Make sure people know that there are only six kinds of homeless people: someone’s mother, someone’s father, someone’s sister, someone’s brother, someone’s son and someone’s daughter.