Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Center for Changing Lives

Park Avenue and 24th Street is bustling with construction and vision as the project nears completion. The old Lutheran Social Services (LSS) building is gone, but not the mission and community presence it has provided for the neighborhood for 50 years. I was able to explore the building on a hard-hat tour yesterday and learned more about the plans for this dream that is about to come true.

Here’s what I learned about the Center for Changing Lives:

  • Affordable Housing for 48 families. More than 1,000 families applied for housing here, which proves that the need is great. These units are not labeled transitional, giving the families stability and the freedom to decide how long they want to call the Center for Changing Lives home.
  • Important Services that will assist families and members of the community to feel cared for and surrounded by support and information for their families. These services include employment, housing, counseling, financial, pregnancy, refugee, youth and more.
  • Large Communal Spaces that will provide the neighborhood with meeting spaces and a place to belong.
  • Messiah Lutheran Church will begin worshipping in the Center for Changing Lives on the First Sunday in Advent, marking a new beginning for their community of faith and their strong relationship with the neighborhood. Several of Messiah’s ministries will find space at the Center, including the Kaleidoscope after school program, the clothing closet and the food shelf.
  • Playground Equipment has been purchased by a local company, whose staff will build the playground for residential youth and kids from the local community.
  • A Green Space that is significantly larger than the previous LSS building, but will function on a similar utility budget. The rain gardens and energy efficient materials are helping the Center keep housing and services truly affordable. In fact, 90% of the previous LSS building materials were recycled. Some of them now line the Crosstown/35W exchange!

This is a $27 million project made possible by generous help from federal, state, city, local and private levels. It is exciting to know that so many are involved in making this Center and its ministry possible.

What does the Center for Changing Lives need?

  • If Lutheran Social Services raises $4 million by the end of 2008, the Kreske Foundation will give $1.2 million. Any gift amount makes a difference.
  • Many of the services provided by the Center are made possible by volunteers with interest or expertise in those areas. Interested?
  • Talk to your pastor about having LSS come and share about the Center during an adult forum. The staff is excited about connecting congregations with this ministry and would love to hear from you!
  • Stop by and visit when the project is complete. Families begin moving in September 1 and Messiah begins worshipping at the Center in Advent.

Photos from the Center for Changing Lives Website

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