The details are not complete, but if all goes according to plan, the Quad-City program “The 180 Zone” will open a new homeless facility in Davenport in January.
Program organizers say they have a facility partially renovated and a large source of funding guaranteed, but they would like community support in expanding 180 Zone services into Iowa.
The nonprofit 180 Zone operates a men’s homeless shelter near Augustana College in Rock Island.
Rusty Boruff, 180 Zone coordinator, said the Rock Island facility, which can house up to 10 men, has been at capacity for the three years it has been open.
“We’ve never had a bed that wasn’t taken by someone,” Boruff said.
The new project is ambitious for a relatively new organization, according to Boruff and other supporters.
“The facility is up to 22 beds,” Boruff said. “We’ll be staying under 15, but that doesn’t include kids if they’re with their families.”
Boruff envisions a facility that will provide tutoring and job skills training for its residents as well as spiritual support and after-school care for children.
“It’s 24/7; our goal is to not just be open during the winter months,” Boruff said.
Calvary Church of the Quad-Cities, which serves as a spiritual liaison for the faith-based 180 Zone, has offered $90,000 to the program to help fund its newest facility, and Boruff said the group needs an additional $30,000 more to fully fund the first quarter of 2012.
Boruff said the annual budget would be around $150,000 to maintain both the men’s shelter and the planned women and youth facility.
“That does not include the purchase of the building,” Boruff said.
The group has been doing renovations on a building in Davenport, although it has yet to sign a lease. Boruff wouldn’t identify the building’s location.
He said renting the building is a possibility depending on how much funding the group can raise from the community, but it isn’t an ideal way to operate.
“Our goal is to buy,” Boruff said.
Progress on the shelter hasn’t been without hiccups, and Boruff said that although each of the Quad-Cities has helped the 180 Zone during its search for locations, some issues have become evident with the choice of a Davenport location.
The Davenport City Council will vote today on a proposed six-month moratorium regarding special use permits for transitional housing projects. It would extend until June 1, 2012.
Boruff said, however, that although the moratorium was disheartening, it would not stop the program from opening in January.
“What that does mean is that if we wanted to apply for a special use permit, our application would not even be read,” Boruff said. “We are able to fit into a category that wouldn’t need a special use permit.”
Boruff said there have been many organizations that have unsuccessfully attempted to build youth shelters in the Quad-Cities.
“It never got off the ground for various reasons,” Boruff said. “We feel like if God is for us, who could be against us? We will move forward if the community supports this vision.”
Tom Bowman, Calvary Church founder and pastor, said the shelter will open regardless of the funding that is provided by the community, but support to help with the purchase of the building is necessary.
“We’re going to go forward either way,” Bowman said.
Boruff said everything is in place for the facility to open in little more than a month.
“The volunteers, the tutors, the teachers, everything is in place with the programs, we’re ready to launch,” Boruff said. “We just need that funding side.”
He said he was confident that the support 180 Zone needs will come from area residents.
“We as a community have an opportunity to put injustice to rest, and we are serious and confident that we will be doing this,” Boruff said. “I truly believe that this is a Quad-Cities issue, and it must be resolved by Quad-Citians.”