LUMBERTON — Hungry and homeless people will have more room to sleep and eat at a new facility for the Lumberton Christian Care Center that will be paid for in part with a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant.
The 8,400-square-foot building will be constructed in two phases, according to Lumberton City Manager T. Wayne Horne, at the corner of Second and Walnut streets, where the old Buckeye building was located before it was destroyed by fire. The Lumberton Christian Care Center is currently located at the former Goodyear Hotel on First Street.
“The Community Development Block Grant is just the first phase,” Horne said. “It just builds the kitchen, but we’re working on another application to go to the North Carolina Housing and Finance Agency for additional funding of up to $500,000.”
Horne said the first phase of construction is for a new kitchen that will provide a dining room that will be about twice the size of the current dining area and will accommodated about 100 people. Also in the plans are restrooms to support the dining area and administrative offices.
The second phase of construction will include six bedrooms with private bathrooms that will be available for short stays by people who are temporarily homeless.
About 100 people visit the center each day, mostly to eat, according to Teresa Johnson, Community Development administrator for city.
“The new building will be more user-friendly to accommodate and serve more people,” Johnson said.
The Christian Care Center has been in the former Goodyear Hotel since 1986. But, according to Horne, it is in poor condition and “doesn’t lend itself to renovations.”
Barbara Andrews, president of the center’s board of directors, said the new facility should provide a cleaner, healthier and safer place for people to come eat. The center will continue operating in the current site until the new building is constructed.
“We’ll continue using it until we have something to take its place,” Andrews said. “We’ll continue to do what we’ve always done, provide a hot meal five days a week.”
Andrews said that the center currently serves about 2,000 people each month.
Horne said the application for the second grant is expected to be submitted by the City Council early next year.