GAINESVILLE – For the second year in a row, Gateway Domestic Violence Center has passed a major milestone in its campaign to build a new emergency shelter, just in time for Christmas.
Gateway to 2020, the capital campaign to build the new facility, has passed its original $2.5 million fundraising goal. The updated campaign goal is $3 million, and Gateway now has $461,834 left to raise.
Earlier this month at a “thank you” reception for board members and major campaign donors, Gateway Executive Director Jessica Butler gave an update about how far the campaign has come and where it’s headed next. Currently community contractors are working on bids to build the new shelter, and the organization showed off renderings and plans for the site.
The original $2.5 million fundraising goal was based on multiple consultations with construction professionals, but it became clear in 2018 that the amount would need to be adjusted.
“Due to rising construction costs and the desire to start building on sound financial footing, the board made the decision at its March 2018 meeting to raise the campaign goal from $2.5 million to $3 million,” Butler said. “This is not a decision the board took lightly, but we feel it will best position Gateway to continue its mission the day we open the doors of the new shelter.”
Last Christmas the campaign had its application for funding in the 2018 Round of the Competitive Affordable Housing Program (AHP) approved and was awarded $720,000, pushing the organization past the $2 million mark.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in its support of the campaign, and we are hopeful they will help us reach the finish line,” Butler said, adding that group’s goal is to break ground early next year and relocate by the end of 2020. “These are exciting times, and we wouldn’t be here without the support of the generous individuals and businesses of our community.”
About Gateway to 2020
Gateway needs a new facility so that it can continue to effectively meet the safety and support needs of women and children fleeing domestic violence. The shelter was built in 1984. Since that time, the community’s population has grown from 80,278 to 202,148 people.
The current lease expires on December 31, 2020, and Gateway must relocate before that time. Additionally, the demand for shelter space has increased significantly in recent years, requiring Gateway to overcrowd the shelter and book hotel rooms for families. During the 12-month period from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, Gateway housed an average of 20 people per night in the 18-bed emergency shelter.
Gateway’s current goal is to raise $3 million dollars. As of December 2019, Gateway has raised just over $2.5 million. Gateway has purchased land, developed plans and plans to break ground in 2020. The new facility will be near public transportation and employment opportunities for clients. When this new facility is finished, Gateway will increase its capacity in the emergency shelter from eight bedrooms to 12 bedrooms and will increase its transitional housing program from 10 apartments to 12 apartments.