VIRGINIA BEACH, Va — Those experiencing homelessness in Virginia Beach will soon have another resource to help them get on the right track.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, known as JCOC, announced major development plans to build almost 40 studio apartments on its campus located at 1053 Virginia Beach Boulevard.
JCOC has been serving those in need since 1986. Some of their services include offering free groceries and hot meals. The center also houses people at its emergency shelter at a different location on Birdneck Road. It assists individuals as they transition into housing of their own.
The main part of the campus renovation will be a 20,644-square-foot complex that includes 38 single units at approximately 300 square feet each. JCOC says this will help bridge the gap for the homeless as they work to find permanent homes.
According to JCOC, approximately 64% of its clients live less than two miles from the JCOC campus, so building on-site is crucial. More than 33,000 people are served yearly between their feeding and housing programs.
JCOC Executive Director, Todd Walker said this is something he’s envisioned since he started about 10 years ago.
“It’s almost mind-blowing. I mean, sometimes I think of the challenges we’ve faced to get to this point. I’m just so happy that the city and the community is so supportive in making this development happen I just know it’s going to save so many lives,” Walker said.
The City of Virginia Beach has contributed $1 million through grants. Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said, “You gotta go to where the problems are.”
He added, “A community and a city defines itself by how they help people in need, and we are acutely aware of so many people who have the needs, especially in a stressed economy coming out of COVID.”
The center says it has raised more than 80% of its $14 million goal. Meanwhile, they are still looking for donors.
JCOC will have to find a temporary location to provide services while construction is underway. Their staff is in the process of looking for a place to relocate their community dinners and food-insecurity programs.
It plans to break ground between January and March of 2023. For more information, including how you can donate, click here.