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Turlock Gospel Mission jump starts campaign for year round shelter

POSTED October 12, 2013 12:54 a.m.

When Tim Guerino stares out at 437 S. Broadway, he doesn’t see an empty warehouse. He sees possibilities.

The executive director of the Turlock Gospel Mission can visualize the dorms and dining room that will one day be a part of the gospel mission’s year-round shelter, and now, Guerino says is the time to start making that vision a reality.

“This is something that we have been dreaming about for years and now we have the vision and focus to put it into action,” Guerino said.

Construction on the year round shelter was originally going to entail one large construction project at an estimated cost of $1.8 million. The gospel mission had expected to keep operations at the Homeless Assistance Ministry on East Avenue operating for another two to three years, but when the Turlock City Council voted in August to only extend the lease for one year, Guerino decided a new plan was in order.

“It did catch us off guard and we had to change course,” Guerino said. “With God it is always about timing. We changed our plan from trying to do it all, to focusing on one part and getting it done by the deadline.”

The new plan is to start Phase 1 of the project on Broadway in separate parts. The Turlock Gospel Mission, which already owns the property, has slated the first part to construct the dorms for men, women and children, bathrooms and laundry room. Guerino hopes to break ground on the project by the start of January 2014 and have it completed by October 2014, a month before the lease at the HAM Center expires and in time for winter relief.

The cost of the construction for the first part is an estimated $500,000. The Turlock Gospel Mission has kicked off the campaign, “Hope Lives Here” to raise the needed funds.

“This community wants to address homelessness with a positive solution,” Guerino said. “We are going to need their donations to get this done.”

The efforts to reach the needed funds got a big boost Friday when Hilmar Cheese Company agreed to donate $225,000.

“Their generosity is such a blessing to us,” Guerino said.

The completion of the first part of the project will not only serve as Turlock’s night shelter for an estimated 59 men, women and children, but will also be utilized as a day center when the HAM lease expires.

Since its opening in March 2012, the HAM Center has helped homeless individuals acquire identification cards, enroll for social services benefits, get medical assistance, and found permanent housing for 26 people.

The second part of the shelter project would be the construction of a dining hall.

Donations to the “Hope Lives Here” fund can be made at the HAM Center at 1030 East Ave.; by mail at P.O. Box 1231, Turlock, 95381; or online at www.turlockgospelmission.org.

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