WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT0 - An old 16,000-square-foot orthodontist building on Cowell Farm Road in Washington will soon be transformed into the Open Door Community Center, Beaufort County's first women and children's homeless shelter.
"People don’t know…this huge need in our community,” said Marcia Norwood, interim executive director of the center.
Once open, the center will house nine women and children, who may stay up to six months.
"We are starting out small, although the need is great,” said Dot Moate, president of the center. “The school district has worked with us and they keep count. About 135 children — that didn't even include the parents."
For months, the center faces obstacles trying to find the right building.
But after receiving $130,000 in donations and an expected $100,000 grant that state Senator Bill Cook helped make a reality, all that’s left is a little leg work.
"Putting the electrical cords and all that stuff in the walls; soon as we are done with that, we can close up the walls, put drywall up and start painting,” said Richard Richman, chairperson for the center.
The Open Door Community Center aims to ensure a safe, secure and structured environment for women and children in Beaufort County.
"Their lives have been in such turmoil that when they come through the door, we want everything in place, so that there are not hiccups they have to endure inside the shelter that they have had to endure outside the shelter,” said Norwood.
The center is across from the Vidant's women’s center.
It is also close to grocery stores and pharmacies
The shelter is slated to open September 1.