In North Texas, there are approximately 2,400 unsheltered homeless women who are among the most vulnerable populations, facing assault or abuse nearly every week. These women will now have a new safe and secure place to turn to as the $1.7 million OurCalling Women’s Center was dedicated today.
The 16,000-square-foot center is funded in part by financial gifts and a host of professional services offered by real estate- and construction-related companies, led by developer/project manager KDC and general contractor Balfour Beatty. KDC CEO Steve Van Amburgh recruited other project partners from the construction industry for the comprehensive build-out of the second floor, saving the faith-based nonprofit significant dollars through donated labor and services along with materials offered at cost.
“When a homeless woman steps into our new Women’s Center, she will be entering a safe space,” said Wayne Walker, founder, pastor and CEO of OurCalling. “Within this secure environment, our team can begin to identify areas of her greatest need. We can also help with an immediate plan of action to not only ensure her safety but to end her homelessness while guiding her through issues – such as drug abuse and health issues – that have contributed to her homelessness.”
Since 2017, the faith-based nonprofit, OurCalling, has successfully operated a service-focused, daytime outreach center for the unsheltered homeless. While it served a record 10,000-plus men and women in 2019, the organization lacked a designated space to serve women.
OurCalling has addressed this problem by transforming the second level of its existing center into a
drop-in Women’s Center. The state-of-the-art center will be managed by trauma-informed staff and volunteers and supported by 20 partner agencies that offer women's services in the areas of medical, psychological, domestic abuse, sex trafficking, addiction, rehab placement, exit strategy and more.
With security a foremost concern, the Women’s Center is equipped with features that help provide an extra layer of protection, including escape routes, safe rooms and a secured entrance with impact-resistant glass.
Additionally, the second floor, which is open to women only, offers a welcoming reception area with comfortable sofas and chairs, laundry services, private showers, counseling areas, offices and meeting rooms, a catering kitchen and a worship center.
Joining Walker for today’s program were Van Amburgh, along with Roy Evans of Balfour Beatty, Mike Peterson of AT&T and Dallas City Council Member Chad West, District 1.
“The work that OurCalling is doing to help women trapped in abuse and homelessness is so important. When I approached our partners in the construction industry, they jumped at the chance to play a role in making the Women’s Center a reality. Helping Pastor Wayne and the OurCalling team is just our way of saying thanks,” said Van Amburgh.
Walker reports that unsheltered homeless – meaning people sleeping under bridges, on the streets, in woods and encampments – has grown by 269% in the last three years. He believes those numbers are likely to jump in coming months as foreclosures and evictions loom, resulting from the economic devastation of COVID-19.
That puts more women in danger every day.
“By isolating women and providing them a dedicated place apart from the male population, we expect to see a significant increase in the number of women seeking refuge and services,” added Walker.
Over the next year, OurCalling projects it will provide a safe haven for 1,200 homeless women, assist 250 homeless women to permanently get off the streets and help 100 homeless women with treatment services for addiction.
The Women’s Center will be an ongoing program of OurCalling, which is open five days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Walker credits the enormous in-kind boost that the real estate and construction companies graciously offered. In addition to lead gifts from KDC and Balfour Beatty, other donors include ACHIEVE AV, American Fire Protection, Baker Triangle, Bubba Tugs, Capform, Carrco Painting, Harmon Glass, JMEG, Kemna Tile, LCR, M4 Specialties, Prism Electric, Rocky Duron, Spectra Flooring, The Demo Company, Venture Mechanical and Woodhaus.
Major financial donors include many local families and individuals who wish to remain anonymous.
OurCalling is located at 1702 S. Cesar Chavez Blvd., Dallas TX 75215. Donations may be made at give.ourcalling.org. For information about job openings, go to ourcalling.org/ribbon or call (214) 444-8796. Learn more at OurCalling.org.
ABOUT OUR CALLING
OurCalling is a faith-based, daytime outreach center for the unsheltered homeless. Located south of Downtown Dallas, the nonprofit opened its new center spring 2017 and currently serves more than 400 homeless men and women a day. OurCalling also offers various unique and first-of-its-kind services to Dallas’ homeless population, including zero-barrier entry (no ID required),
private locking shower rooms, publicly accessible toilets, and laundry services (provided by staff and volunteers). The center also has private counseling rooms, classrooms, a worship center and, most importantly, space for training, educating, collaborating and investing in long-term change, including exiting homelessness and abusive situations. Each day, OurCalling encounters victims of sex trafficking, drug trafficking, labor trafficking, and domestic violence. The center brings in services provided by community partners such as Parkland, North Texas Food Bank, the Veterans Association, Dallas County Housing, ID Services, Metrocare and CitySquare. Learn more at ourcalling.org.
KDC is a leading corporate build-to-suit development and investment firm for companies across the country. Within the last 30 years, KDC has produced approximately 36 million square feet valued at over $9 billion. KDC addresses the future of Corporate America by developing walkable, mixed-use urban environments anchored by notable clients, and specializes in data center and broadcast studio build-to-suits. KDC's portfolio includes developments for FedEx, J.P Morgan Chase, Liberty Mutual, Raytheon, State Farm (Dallas and Atlanta offices), and Toyota North America. KDC is headquartered in Dallas and is supported by a national team with offices in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina For more information, please visit kdc.com.