And now as witnessed at the corner of King Hill Avenue and Cherokee Street, we are in the initial construction phase of building the 24,000 square-foot community center which will serve this community with vital services that promote the common good.
But this was not the only facility and programming works that were completed in 2016.
As part of our construction plans it was necessary to relocate two programs. InterServ moved the Free Clothing Store to the 8th Street Drop-In Center – 625 8th Street – and we relocated our Southside Early Care and Education program to a renovated home - 125 Illinois Ave - after being housed at the Wesley Center for more than 90 years.
In regard to addressing the crucial need for affordable decent housing for seniors – the renovation of St. Francis Apartments and King Hill Apartments totaling over 160 units of senior housing were completed, making them viable for the next 25-years. And, King Hill Addition, 24 units located in the south side, will see their improvements completed in 2017.
And while these improvements and new facilities highlight 2016, we continue to celebrate the ongoing success of an organization that InterServ helped form 14 years ago. Community Missions began with the formulation of a cold weather shelter and resulted in the development of permanent supportive housing resources; St. Joseph’s Haven and Juda House. Today, Community Missions has a separate board, viable funding sources and named a new executive director.
Currently, we are seeing increases of persons experiencing the effects of poverty, a growing percentage of aging in the population, disparities in rich and poor, and prejudice and discrimination. InterServ continues to enhance our supportive services to address and counter those impacted by social ills of our day, just as this mission of service has done for over the past 100 years.
Some enhanced programming in 2016 includes after-school meals for our youth program, slight increase of state funds so we are able to provide a greater and more effective response to families in crisis. New programming includes the acquisition of a home care organization, Crossroads Home Care, which we now manage more clients and the work of InterServ staff to accomplish objectives that better addresses the needs of our workforce, remaining cost-effective in the services we provide.
And we are always mindful of our partnerships in this blessed endeavor, support from United Way of Greater St. Joseph, United Methodist Women, Heartland Presbytery, United Church of Christ and many other faith-based and community organizations that also see the need in our community and look to address those needs.
Each year thousands of people are served. We as staff, board and volunteers remain grateful and mindful of your support that makes this compassionate response to people in need possible. We also know that the future always holds opportunities and challenges. And now with the start of construction we envision opportunities in a complex where faithfully serving people provide leadership, compassion and examples of the servant and advocate to meet the challenges faced. It is the advocate that calls us to be mindful of and guided by the social teaching of the gospel - and the servant always working in the knowledge that God’s goodness prevails.