Camillus House Breaks Ground at new Campus

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 7:00 am

Camillus House broke ground on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at the site of its planned 340-bed center at 1603 Northwest Seventh Avenue (between 15th and 17th streets). The event marks a milestone in Camillus' effort to end chronic homelessness in Greater Miami.

Guests at the groundbreaking ceremony included Archdiocese of Miami Bishop John Noonan, City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, City of Miami Commissioner Angel Gonzales, City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, and other leaders of the business and civic sectors.

The event also featured the presentation of a $2 million gift to the Camillus House "Open the Door to Hope" Capital Campaign from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In addition to this gift, Miami Mayor Diaz pledged $10 million toward this project, which will come from Community Redevelopment Agency funds.

Left to right: Maria Alonso, Bank of America; Kimberly Palmer, Merrill Lynch; Brother Justin Howson, BGS; Bishop John Noonan, Archdiocese of Miami; Lorenzo Lebrija, Knight Foundation; Dr. Paul R. Ahr, President & CEO of Camillus House; Bob Dickinson, Chairman of the Board of Camillus House, Dr. Kate Callahan, Chairwoman, Camillus Health Concern; Gene Shaeffer, Bank of America; Cheryl Rees, Ocean Bank; and Linda Coll, Carnival Foundation.

The 3.1-acre property was transferred by The University of Miami to the State of Florida in June 2008. Camillus House was then granted a 60-year lease on the land. The timing of the transaction enabled Camillus House to qualify for $20.1 million in tax credits through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, which will fund construction of an 80-unit apartment building on the new campus.

This expansion will enable Camillus House to sell its existing, obsolete 20,000-square-foot building at 726 Northeast First Avenue. Proceeds from this sale will help to fund Camillus House's ongoing capital campaign to build and operate the new campus.

The new Camillus House Center will feature multiple buildings, including a total of 340 beds for individual who are chronically homeless. The center will provide a wide range of social services and clinical treatment programs. The facility will increase emergency, transitional and permanent supported housing, and facilitate residential treatment and emergency housing for women and Spanish-speaking individuals. The new center also will include a kennel for individuals with pets.

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