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Building hope: Contractors help year-round shelter project
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Chris Kiriakou and Jeani and John Ferrari are excited about the recent donations to the Hope Lives Here campaign, an effort to raise enough funds to complete Turlock's first year-round homeless shelter. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER / The Journal

As anyone who has ever undertaken a renovation project can attest, in construction the devil is often in the details. But for the Hope Lives Here campaign, a fundraising effort to complete the Turlock Gospel Mission's year-round shelter, members of the construction community are energizing the project  with a spirit of giving.

Three local contractors— Dennis Padilla, Keith Dowdy and Allen Martin —have made the weatherizing of the shelter their goal, volunteering their time and efforts towards the project. According to TGM Board member Chris Kiriakou, their generosity has prompted a number of other contractors to offer their services at a discounted rate, or in a few instances free of charge.

"The $200,000 weatherization project now looks like it's going to be less than $50,000," said Kiriakou.

The generosity of the contractors was a much-needed boost for the shelter project, which broke ground in January 2014 on the Broadway Avenue site. When finished, the facility will house a year-round shelter with beds for 35 men and 14 women and children, a kitchen and dining hall, wellness center and career resource center.

Phase one of the project generated $720,000 in donations that were used to complete the architecture, design and foundation work, as well as plumbing and interior framing construction.

In July 2015, the Hope Lives Here Committee launched a campaign to raise $2.5 million for the project. Of that, $1.6 million will be used to complete construction and repay the loan needed to purchase the property. The remaining $900,000 will be used as the first year’s operation fund.

The fundraising efforts include special events and naming opportunities. Donors can get their names engraved on recognition walls inside the new shelter or on tiles and bricks along the entrance or garden pathways.

These donor tiles and bricks serve another purpose as well, said Hope Lives Here Board member Jeani Ferrari.

"We're telling the homeless who come to the shelter that we support them. We want to help them get off the streets and back into society," she said.

Kiriakou said the gospel mission is not a "bed and breakfast."

"The goal is restoration. They will have a bed and be fed, but we also address the physical, mental and spiritual, which are all components in someone being homeless," he said.

"We show them a way out and then hold them accountable."

For more information about the gospel mission or the Hope Lives Here campaign, visit