Boise Rescue Mission Ministries opens two renovated shelters

A generous community, volunteers help make it happen

kmoeller@idahostatesman.comFebruary 5, 2014 


    - Valley Women and Children’s Shelter, 869 W. Corporate Lane, Nampa. Grand opening at 10 a.m. Thursday. The public is invited to hear Idaho first lady Lori Otter, Nampa Mayor Bob Henry and Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue speak. Open house 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. All welcome.

    - Lighthouse Rescue Mission (new location), 304 16th Ave. N., Nampa. Grand opening party 10 a.m. Feb. 20. Speakers TBA. Open house 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 22. All welcome.

Sometimes great opportunities present themselves at inopportune times.

The managers of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries had their hands full last fall with plans to move their Nampa men’s shelter — Lighthouse Rescue Mission — to a new location in 2014. The building they had operated the shelter in for 13 years was falling down around them.

They identified a former church building about 2.5 miles away that they could renovate to serve as the new Lighthouse location. They were just finishing up a $2.5 million fundraising campaign last fall when a shelter that served Nampa-area women and children escaping domestic violence closed.

Due to financial shortfalls and mounting debt, the Valley Crisis Center at 869 W. Corporate Lane was shuttered Sept. 14. The board of the failed nonprofit hoped to sell the 9,000-square-foot building to a local agency with a similar mission.

Boise Rescue Mission couldn’t pass up the chance to pursue another of its long-term goals. Thus, the group now finds itself opening two shelters in the next two weeks.

The public can get a peek at Lighthouse’s new location — 304 16th Ave. N. — at a grand opening Feb. 20 and an open house Feb. 22. The new Valley Women and Children’s Shelter will open at 10 a.m. Thursday at the former site of the Valley Crisis Center.

The group’s board and staff recognized that Nampa needed a shelter for women and children. But they hadn’t planned to pursue one for at least three more years.

“It wasn’t a slam dunk,” the Rev. Bill Roscoe, president/CEO of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, said of the project’s timing.

With a paid staff of about 70, Boise Rescue Mission has operated three shelters in the Valley — one in Nampa (Lighthouse) and two in Boise (City Light Home for Women & Children and River of Life Men’s Shelter). The annual operating budget for the three shelters is about $4.5 million.

The Valley Crisis Center board offered its building — and all of the furnishings — for just $250,000, though the estimated value of the building alone was about $650,000.

“We weren’t in it to make a profit,” said Mikel Wagoner, the Nampa police sergeant who chaired the Valley Crisis Center board. “We wanted somebody to get a good deal and continue the mission.”

Wagoner declined to say what the final tally was on the Valley Crisis Center’s debt, but the $250,000 it received in the sale of the building was enough to pay off creditors and still have some money left over to donate to a local charity.

The Boise Rescue Mission Ministries board decided it would buy the building only if it could do so without touching existing or reserve funds. Board members also wanted to have $150,000 for the first three months of operations.

“We got on our horses and started running and talking to people,” Roscoe said.

A large grant from a local family foundation got the ball rolling, and the nonprofit soon had the money to purchase the building.

“This is the most generous community that I’ve ever seen or been a part of,” said Roscoe, 62, who is originally from the San Francisco area. “When folks realize that there’s a need, and there’s a legitimate way to meet that need, people come out of everywhere to help.”

By December, Roscoe’s group had raised the $150,000 for operating the shelter. A significant contribution from the John and Ora Brandt Foundation and a $25,000 grant from United Way helped that effort.

As part of renovations, a new water heating system was installed, the entire interior was repainted and the floors and 30 windows were replaced. The facility will have 60 beds and an all-female staff of 12.

The shelter will welcome any women and children who are homeless, not just those displaced by domestic violence. A nightly chapel service will be offered for those who wish to attend.

Meanwhile, the new 15,500-square-foot Lighthouse building is only slightly larger but will increase that shelter’s available beds from 60 to 105.

“The flow is going to be much better. The front door opens to the dining room,” Roscoe said, which makes it easy for those stopping for a meal to come and go without passing through other parts of the facility.

Roscoe doesn’t shy away from the “m” word in describing the quick push to buy, renovate and open the Valley Women and Children’s Shelter.

“I think ‘miraculous’ is an appropriate word,” he said. “To have it happen that quickly was a sign from God that this was something that we ought to do.”

Katy Moeller: 377-6413

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