Home July 2018 Vancouver homeless ministry grows

Vancouver homeless ministry grows


VANCOUVER, Wash. — A new building set to open here this summer on the downtown campus of a local ministry is designed to greatly expand programs for homeless and at-risk youth and serve more families.

The 16,700-square-foot Tod and Maxine McClaskey Family Resource Center is on the northeast corner of the Open House Ministries site.

Open House Ministries is a faith-based community organization providing shelter, intervention and Christ-based, lifesaving programs to homeless families in southwest Washington.

Although under construction for a year, the three-story $3.35 million structure, named in recognition of a $750,000 grant award from the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation, has actually been in the making since 2014. With significant contributions from Joanne Kendall and Steve and Jan Oliva, the campaign was underway. With additional major gifts from the Murdock Charitable Trust, the Firstenburg Foundation, Allen and Sandra Kirkwood, Steve and Jo Marie Hansen, Joe Pauletto and other local philanthropists, the building is fully funded.

“This project could not have come at a better time,” said Open House Executive Director Renee Stevens. “Every day right in our neighborhood we see the hardships of the homeless and the acute need to be able to serve more homeless families with kids. That we will be able to soon open this new building to help more families is both exciting and rewarding. A lot of dedicated people have put years into this project and to watch it happen has been an unbelievable journey for all of us. It is going to open the doors for us to do so much more for those in need.”

Stevens knows the needs well. A former resident of Open House Ministries, she has been on staff 13 years, including leading the case management team prior to her appointment as executive director.

“We are super excited about two aspects that this new building will bring. Our first priority is for our offices currently housed in the family shelter building to move to the new McClaskey building. This will afford converting those rooms back to the originally permitted apartments. That should increase capacity to serve as much as 25 percent more families in the shelter,” Stevens said. “Secondly, we will have the ability to expand adult classes and children’s and youth programs because we will literally have the space to do so, something that was not possible before.”

Stevens noted that because of donations from many individuals and companies, the ministry has been able “to build twice the building at a fraction of the cost … When we dedicate the building this summer, it is really going to be a celebration and tribute to the amazing outpouring of support from this community on so many levels.”