Press release from ABCCM:
Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) marked on Dec. 20, 2016, the opening of the road to Transformation Village, a further step forward in ABCCM’s vision to end homelessness for women, children and families in Buncombe County.
ABCCM volunteers, board members, donors to the Transformation Village capital campaign, staff and others attended the “Blessing of the Pathways” event, during which they had the opportunity to bless the road into the site. Funding for the road cutting, gravel base and clearing of trees was funded by several different in-kind donations from area businesses: Ephesians Two Ten, Lancaster Grading, Henson Mulch Yard, Vulcan Materials, Josh Holmes with Holmes Surveying, Barney Woodard Architect and Marvin Mercer Engineering. Attendees also had the opportunity to see the 24-acre site, which ABCCM purchased last year and is located at 45 Rocky Ridge Road near the Asheville Outlets on Brevard Road.
“Our donors did a super job of making this possible,” said Reverend Scott Rogers, ABCCM’s executive director. “We’ve come to this place because of so many of you [churches, board members, donors and volunteers] who said, if we can do it for veterans at the Veterans Restoration Quarters, we can do it for women and children to take them all off the streets.”
Transformation Village – a transitional living facility named in recognition of the transformative impact it will have not only on the lives of its residents, but on the community as a whole – will provide homeless individuals and families with a safe and secure living space, along with the skills they need to take steps to successfully move on with stable income and in their own home.
The facility will eventually replace ABCCM’s Steadfast House, which has a waiting list of more than 300 women and children.
Chris Young, an ABCCM a Division Captain who is helping steer the capital campaign, reported that $3.9 million has been raised so far for the first phase of the project, which will cost an estimated $5.5 million. Phase 1 will more than triple the current 43-bed capacity at Steadfast House. Design plans include 30 emergency and transitional housing units alongside a community center with a culinary training kitchen, 300-seat dining room, classrooms, a clinic and 24 two-bedroom apartment units for a total of up to 150 beds at full capacity.
ABCCM currently operates Steadfast House, a 43-bed transitional living facility for homeless women and children, including 10 beds for female veterans. There is a waiting list of more than 300 women and children for Steadfast House vacancies. All Steadfast House residents will eventually move to Transformation Village.
“Imagine the buildings and apartments here filled with women, children and families, in a place that’s warm and safe, where there is food and clothing, and the only thing they need to worry about is how to get their lives back on track,” said Mary Sczudlo, ABCCM’s director of homeless services and strategic development officer. “Transformation Village is going to be an answer for so many. But we also have the Veterans Restoration Quarters, the Crisis Ministry, and other ministries within ABCCM. Transformation Village is just one piece of the overall ministry that saves lives. It’s all those pieces together that serve all those in need.”
ABCCM board members Reverend Dr. Joe Yelton of Hominy Baptist Church, Reverend Calvin Hailstock of Community Baptist Church and Reverend Gerald Davis of Groce United Methodist Church, who currently serves as ABCCM’s board president, along with ABCCM Steadfast House-Transformation Village Advisory Committee member and longtime volunteer Deborah Bradshaw, offered Advent season-themed prayers of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love for Transformation Village. Participants also read a Litany of Rocky Ridge and emptied cups of pebbles on the site to pour out blessings on the project. Reverend Gary Coffey, ABCCM’s board vice president, offered the benediction.
“As I came over here today, I was thinking about how good it is to be here on this day and in this season of hope, joy, peace and love and this place we are consecrating today,” said Davis, who helped open the event with an invocation.