(March 1, 2019) Diakonia Inc. has upcoming renovation plans for its property on Old Bridge Road in West Ocean City.
Claudia Nagle, executive director of Diakonia, said she’s been working on getting a grant to fund the project since last summer, and is excited about the progress.
“It’s a huge opportunity for us to get things done that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to be done,” Nagle said.
Kim Reynolds, senior budget account for Worcester County, said the $276,128 Diakonia received from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development would go toward a variety of improvements.
“When people are down on their luck, when people lose their jobs, when people have nowhere to go, homeless shelters are there to pick people back up, and these are members of our community,” Reynolds said. “They need help as well as everyone else.”
As a partnership between the organization, county and state, Diakonia will complete the renovations and then be reimbursed by the county, which manages the state the grant.
Diakonia’s shelter renovation projects include a new roof, siding, flooring and a bathroom, according to the proposal presented to the county commissioners.
While it isn’t a complete overhaul, Nagle said, “it’s close.”
The main house was built around 1930, and Nagle said there have been some updates over the years, a kitchen remodel among them. She added these types of improvements are crucial to continue providing services to some 200 households per year.
“To have facilities that are in good repair and well maintained … really sends a message to the people that we serve,” Nagle said. “Our mission talks about … our commitment to serving people with dignity and improving the facility that we use to provide those services.”
Allyson Bernard Church, president of Diakonia’s board of directors, said focusing on the organization’s patrons is crucial.
“I don’t want to worry about a roof leaking,” Church said. “I want to worry about the family that needs help from the food pantry, or the resident that needs to come in for temporary housing, or the vet that may need services through our program.”
Reynolds said she hopes the projects will be completed by the end of September 2019 as the funding expires in 2020.
Reynolds presented bids for two portions of the project at last Tuesday’s commissioners meeting. The commissioners approved a $17,400 paving bid, and a $1,598 bid for new laundry equiptment.
Reynolds also recommended readvertising bids for the remaining sections of the renovation project.
Reynolds emphasized the importance of a philanthropic organization having a strong working relationship with local government.
“It’s important because without the backing of the county they would never be able to receive these funds,” Reynolds said.