More businesses donate toward Lighthouse homeless shelter

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Lighthouse Mission Executive Director Richard Gomez said workers are expected to break ground on a new homeless shelter sometime in the next week.

Sharna Johnson

Businesses and contractors continue to step forward and donate their services, bringing the Lighthouse Mission’s new homeless shelter closer to being a reality.

Executive Director Richard Gomez said final plans are being drawn up and the mission hopes to break ground in less than a week.

Several local businesses have donated their time, money and expertise, he said, driving down the amount of money needed to complete was an estimated $350,000 project.

Gomez said only a few construction services — such as electricians, framers and heating and cooling contractors — are lacking to complete the project.

“We have some start-up money to do some of the work that needs to be done,” he said. “But of course it’s not enough to complete the building. The more contractors that come on board the less money that we’ll have to raise to build it.”

The new shelter, which will be built in the vicinity of the existing Lighthouse Mission at 407 L. Casillas Road, will accommodate 24 men and women as well as two families.

Gomez said the facility should be completed and operational by winter.

Four adjoining lots donated to the mission for the shelter will give “room to grow if we need to,” he said.

“And it’s something good to make the neighborhood look nicer.”

Roper Construction is donating services as general contractor. Mark Carpenter is donating plumbing, Don Pool Construction the concrete work, Paul Reed is doing the architectural design and Landmark Title and Lydick Engineering helped with the transfer of three of the lots donated by Arno Massey.

And that is just some of the generosity that has helped move the project along, Gomez said.

“The Lighthouse Mission has been in operation almost 22 years,” he said. “Anytime there was a need, the community came together to help us and I think it will be the same way with this project.”

Johnny Eastwood of Eastwood Construction said he is donating his services for site work, which will include things such as scraping and preparing the lot for construction.

“They’ve got more charities than they’ve got income,” he said of the mission’s diverse efforts in the community.

“We just try to help the Lighthouse for all the good causes it does.”

But it’s a multifaceted project with a litany of needs, Gomez said, so all help is appreciated.

About three weeks ago, Bryce Bender and his four brothers decided to donate their father’s old golf cart to the mission to help with transportation on site as the complex grows.

“Me and my brothers got together and flashed up my Dad’s old golf cart… and we just decided to donate it to the Lighthouse Mission,” he said.

Gomez said the cart is a great help with carrying tools and other things from one building to another. “They asked us if we could use it and we sure did need it,” he said.

Bender said his family has always supported the mission, donating clothing and other items throughout the year and food at the holidays.

What the mission does for the community is valuable and should be supported, he said.

“Everybody in town ought to get behind ‘em and help,” Bender said.