The Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County will expand its services next year for women and families seeking safety and refuge. In honor of its 125th anniversary, the nonprofit plans to break ground in September on an $8.2 million, 39,707-square-foot facility to provide a shelter for single and homeless women, moms with children, dads with children, and intact families. The new Scott Walker Women and Families Service Building has been named as a memorial for Walker, a community volunteer and commercial real estate developer. The four-story building, expected to open in the fall of 2014, will be located on the organization’s 6.5-acre campus on East Lancaster Avenue in Fort Worth’s Near East Side Village. The new facility will increase capacity by 260 percent. It will replace the existing 15,000-square-foot women’s center, a cramped, outdated building dating to the 1940s. Last year, Union Gospel Mission provided more than 108,000 nights of shelter and more than 253,000 meals to those in need. About 80 percent of the county’s homeless population transitions through the mission, according to agency officials. Don Shisler, president and chief executive officer of Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County, said the demand for services for the homeless, specifically for women and families, has increased dramatically the last few years. The agency receives more than 200 calls a month from women needing help. Shisler said domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness among women in this area; 41 percent of the county’s homeless are female. “The women urgently need help and hope. This building will fulfill a precious need,” Shisler said. “It’s all about taking care of the need that’s already here.” The new building also will include the Suzie Murray Chapel, named for volunteer Murray. The building will include 28 rooms for single women (double occupancy), a 12-bed overnight shelter for women, five rooms for men with children and five rooms for families with children. Other amenities in the new building will include 13 offices for program directors/partnered community organizations, two program rooms, a library/computer room, pantry, prayer room, hair salon and courtyard for residents. Architect for the project is Schwarz-Hanson Architects of Fort Worth. Muckleroy & Falls, also based in Fort Worth, will provide construction services. A capital campaign for the new women and families building began in August 2011. To date, $5.9 million has been raised. The Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla., has offered the nonprofit a $1 million challenge grant when the campaign hits the $7.2 million mark. Union Gospel Mission is asking for community support to reach its final campaign goal. For information, visit www.ugm-tc.org or call 817-339-2553.
Texas Rangers equipment drive The Texas Rangers are teaming up again with the Major League Baseball Tomorrow Fund to host an equipment collection drive to promote youth baseball and softball. This year’s drive, in conjunction with City of West Day, will be held July 6 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. All donations made that day will benefit the Legacy West Education Foundation to help youth programs in West, which is recovering from the devastating explosion and fires on April 17. Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland will serve as the drive’s honorary chairman for the third consecutive year. Fans may drop off new and gently used baseball and softball equipment at any entrance of Rangers Ballpark from 4 to 6:45 p.m. on July 6. In addition, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund will make a $5,000 grant to the Legacy West Education Foundation for to buy youth baseball and softball equipment. Academy Sports + Outdoors also will give a $5,000 gift card to that organization. The equipment drive is part of the Rangers’ event to host the residents and first responders from West. Several thousand people are expected to attend that night’s 6:15 game versus the Cincinnati Reds. The event will include on-field ceremonies with participation from city of West officials and first responders, the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and the Major League Baseball Tomorrow Fund. There will be also be a moment of silence for the 15 people who died during the tragedy in West. For information, call 817-273-5207 or visit www.texasrangers.com/equipment.
Deadline for preservation awards Historic Fort Worth Inc. once again is looking for innovative preservation projects around town worthy of one of its 2013 Preservation Awards. The awards cover four categories and recognize excellence in the restoration, rehabilitation or adaptive reuse of historic buildings or sites, homeowners who have sensitively restored residential properties for their own use, and property owners who have demonstrated long-term commitment to preserving a historic property through maintenance, restoration or rehabilitation. Nominations are due by noon July 5 to HFW, 1110 Penn St., Fort Worth 76102, or to Jerre_Tracy@historicfortworth.org. Nomination forms may be downloaded at www.historicfortworth.org. The award winners will be announced on Sept. 26 during the 2013 Samuel Benton Cantey III Lecture and Preservation Awards event at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. This year’s Cantey lecturer will be Elizabeth Louden, historic preservation programs director at Texas Tech University’s School of Architecture.
Salvation Army opens cooling stations Two summers ago, 37 people died in the Metroplex due to the heat. With the current high temperatures, The Salvation Army once again has opened cooling stations at 15 locations, which are listed at www.salvationarmydfw.org. The stations provide life-saving relief for the homeless, people without air conditioning, and those whose jobs require them to work outside. The cooling stations with the highest traffic are The Salvation Army’s two emergency homeless shelters in Dallas and in Fort Worth. Cooling stations also are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at The Salvation Army’s 13 community centers, including one at 711 Border Place in Arlington and at Northside Corps, 3023 N.W. 24th St. in Fort Worth.
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