Miracle City, community for the homeless, plans 5-year construction

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Once built, the community will include several housing complexes and community centers. (Community impact journal)

Five acres of wooded land on Foster Drive in Conroe has been cleared for Miracle City, a community serving the homeless in Montgomery County. According to the 2021 Homelessness Account and Survey, which was released on March 24, there were 102 homeless people in Montgomery County. One in seven in the Greater Houston area claimed their homelessness was the result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The project, which was led by Compassion United, a local support ministry, started in October and could be fully built within the next four or five years, said Compassion United executive director Luke Redus.

When completed, the community will provide housing, a dining room, a church, a wardrobe, a day center and an empowerment center to help people lift out of homelessness, poverty and poverty. substance addiction. It will also offer vocational training and life-skills courses, such as a carpentry workshop.

“[They can] build storage sheds, tiny houses, ”Redus said. “We teach them skills, but also create a product that can be sold. “

There will be two types of housing: transitional housing for people who can complete the program and transition to independent living within 12 to 18 months, and long-term supportive housing for people who will be more dependent. long to transition or may never be able to live independently. , says Redus.

The halfway houses will include a living together, with each house accommodating 16 people. There will be a house for men, one for women and one for women in crisis. Those who participate in the bridging program are assigned a mentor and attend classes related to financial, spiritual and mental health.

Long-term supportive housing will include duplexes and individuals will work on site instead of paying rent, Redus said. Mentors are volunteers, but once job training is added, these positions will likely be paid employees.

The first phase of the project is the creation of the empowerment center and the day center. The two centers will be steel buildings or prefabricated metal buildings. All permits were finalized in December and clearing began in February.

The first building is expected to be on site by July 1, and the second building will likely be completed within the next 18 months.

In mid-June, the median was about to start construction after some rain delays, and an environmental study was underway for the second building.

Compassion United has so far raised $ 900,000 in addition to a $ 1.25 million grant from Montgomery County Community Development.

Asked about the potential concerns of residents nearby, Redus said some had expressed concerns about living next to the community. However, he said, after meeting with residents and discussing the project, most of them agreed.

Hannah Zedaker contributed to this report.

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