Media Contact: Jeremy Bermender
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DALLAS – December 22, 2020 –Catholic Charities Dallas (CCD) and Catholic Housing Initiative (CHI), in collaboration with Dallas County and the City of Dallas, have leveraged CARES Act funds to open a new facility that will address the urgent need for housing for both COVID-impacted individuals and families, as well as the homeless.
St. Jude Center-Park Central (SJC-PC) opened Tuesday, December 15 in the former Gateway Hotel, a four-story, 180-room facility, conveniently located on the LBJ Freeway at Coit Road in Dallas. Initially, the center will provide housing and meals for virus-affected guests, who may need to quarantine away from family or may have been recently discharged from the hospital with no permanent housing available.
“Our goal is to ensure that these guests can safely and comfortably quarantine with us and have their basic needs met while on their road to recovery,” said Dave Woodyard, President/CEO of Catholic Charities, which serves as the property manager and social service coordinator of SJC-PC.
Referrals to SJC-PC will come from the City of Dallas’ Office of Homeless Solutions, which will work closely with Dallas County and healthcare partners in placing COVID-impacted individuals and families at the rate of approximately 5-15 per day until the facility is fully occupied. Dallas County contributed $10 million of its federal CARES Act funds toward the purchase and operations of SJC-PC; the City of Dallas contributed an additional $2 million in CARES Act funds toward acquisition, with the possibility of an additional $3 million investment toward renovations, which would likely come from a 2017 voter-approved bond package directed at mitigating the homeless crisis in Dallas.
The former hotel was selected by the project partners due to its location along two major highway corridors, its proximity to light-rail and bus lines, and its access to multiple employment centers within minutes of the facility. On-site services will be available to all residents, including case management services to address residents’ mental health needs, as well as providing financial coaching to stabilize their situations, directing residents to various agencies to receive appropriate benefits, and helping them find employment. CCD and its partner non-profit agencies will work to provide all of the above along while building a community of support for all. The goal of SJC-PC will be to “graduate” guests back to independent living environments, with the tools and resources to be financially stable.
CHI, which is the owner and developer of the facility, will complete Phase One renovations this month, as well as prepare the facility for post-COVID-19, Phase Two utilization, namely, providing transitional and long-term housing for people who are housing insecure or have experienced protracted homelessness. Each resident will have a fully furnished efficiency unit with a full kitchen and private bathroom. Cable, Wi-Fi and group meetings rooms will also be available to the residents along with 24/7 security.
“Working collaboratively with Catholic Charities and their non-profit and government partners, we plan to facilitate a welcoming community that not only houses the homeless, but provides critical, wraparound services to help them get back on their feet and prepare them for self-sufficiency and independent living in their futures,” said Joe Dingman, Treasurer and one of the founders of CHI. “We know from our success with St. Jude Center-Forest that we can actually reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness as well as help them achieve stability.”
The total estimated cost of the SJC-PC project is $20 million, including $9.75 million for acquisition; $5 million for renovations; $250,000 for acquisition and start-up costs and project reserves; and $5 million for social services delivery for the first 10 years. As the need for COVID-related housing subsides, the project will transition from Phase I COVID-related housing into Phase II, at which point project sponsors will arrange for rental subsidies from HUD vouchers, private foundation grants and donations from individual donors.
“St. Jude Park Central showcases the power of public-private partnerships in addressing not only chronic homelessness, but also the coming wave of homelessness and housing insecurity we anticipate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said District 11 Dallas City Council Member Lee Kleinman.
Adds Dallas County Commissioner Dr. Theresa Daniel: “COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the lack of low-income housing in Dallas County. Addressing the rising homelessness and housing insecurity in Dallas County requires innovative collaborations among both public and private partners. With the success of the original St. Jude Center, we have tremendous confidence in CCD and CHI and thus the new St. Jude Center–Park Central and its ability to provide safe, stable housing for those in need and help get them back on track on a path to financial stability.
Both the City of Dallas and Dallas County were investors in St. Jude Center-Forest, a successful 104-unit permanent supportive housing community for chronically homeless seniors, which opened in fall of 2018. Other St. Jude Center-Forest collaborators including CitySquare, Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing and Metrocare Services, will also serve as partners in the new Park Central facility, along with new partners, such as North Texas Behavioral Health and Trusted World.
About Catholic Charities Dallas
CCD is an independent, 501(c)3 non-profit organization and one of the leading social service providers in the greater Dallas region. We educate, serve and empower more than 200,000 clients in need annually across a nine-county region of North Texas, addressing the root causes of poverty and homelessness. A large multi-disciplinary agency, CCD provides services in the following core areas: hunger alleviation through boxed food pantries, client choice pantries and mobile community pantries; early childhood education; low-income elderly supports; permanent supportive housing for homeless elderly; immigration legal services; pregnancy, parenting and adoption counseling; refugee resettlement; shelter and foster care for unaccompanied refugee minors; financial coaching and career development assistance; disaster preparedness and relief; community relations, advocacy and more. For more information, see www.ccdallas.org.
About Catholic Housing Initiative (CHI)
CHI is a community-based, non-profit organization founded in 1991 by a group of Catholics with a mission to provide quality, affordable family and senior housing. In addition to St Jude Center, it owns and operates 768 apartment units in Coppell, Carrollton, Mesquite, and Dallas. CHI also is now beginning its second ownership housing project in the Five Mile neighborhood of Dallas. Of its existing housing inventory, approximately 20% are dedicated to seniors, and the rest are aimed at families. CHI has substantial development and redevelopment experience in addition to its operating and financing expertise. CHI owns the project and provides facility and financial oversight, including securing housing assistance arrangements with DHA and others. For more info, see www.CHIDallas.org.