Church housing fund denied | Local news

Citing the separation of church and state, the Halifax County Board of Supervisors decided not to provide funding for the Worship Center to help with a domestic project when they met on Tuesday night.

Ricky Whitlow, pastor of the church, had approached the board of trustees asking for funding of $ 430,000 to help turn classrooms into apartments for families or displaced people.

The church currently has $ 30,000 for this project and has started demolition work.

The pastor explained that the church has 10 classrooms that cover over 10,000 square feet, and they would like to turn them into apartments called Oasis.

“Oasis serves as a place of refreshment in the wilderness, so our vision is that this department would be a place of refreshment for the residents of Halifax County during some of their most difficult times,” said Whitlow.

Breaking down the approximate costs of the project, Whitlow said it would cost around $ 120,000 to replace the roof, which must be completed first.

Other approximate costs include $ 10,000 for insulation, $ 70,000 for ceiling grid, lighting and ceiling tiles, $ 60,000 for flooring, $ 30,000 for paint, $ 130,000 for mechanical, electrical and plumbing and $ 40,000 for carpentry and building materials.

“With your approval, we hope to have a roof replaced and a few apartments completed by the winter so that there is immediate accommodation available if needed due to unforeseen circumstances such as a house fire,” Whitlow said. to the board of directors.

He also said that a man the church has helped in recent months, Peter, would serve as a residential counselor and live full time in the apartments to help maintain the conduct and character of those who stay in church.

“We want to provide a safe and loving place for the people of Halifax County. But, before I conclude, I want to be clear about what this space is not at the moment. It is not a homeless shelter, it is not a warm refuge, and it is not a place to transition between people entering society after being released from prison. Because of the staff and our capacity, this stuff will be beyond what we are able to do now. We are looking for individuals and families who need a helping hand. With your help, we want to be able to deliver that, ”added Whitlow.

After his presentation, ED-8 Supervisor William Bryant Claiborne said, “There is the concept of church and state. It will be difficult for us to give money.

Whitlow noted that they were planning to get a 501 (c) 3 for Oasis, but Claiborne said he would still be connected to the church.

ED-1 supervisor Ricky Short also warned against funding a church, saying it would create a “domino effect” of demands from many churches in the county.

Claiborne suggested that members of the Worship Center look for charities that could help or provide funding, and ED-3 president and supervisor Hubert Pannell suggested they contact social services for help. ugly.

“I hope you keep going and can be successful,” Claiborne added.

Later in Tuesday’s meeting, supervisors were able to bring relief to another home project, Poplar Creek Homes.

Southside Outreach Group, a community housing development organization certified by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, is partnering with the City of South Boston to build 16 duplexes for a total of 32 rental housing units.

The organization had asked supervisors to waive building permit fees, which the county administrator, Scott Simpson, estimates at more than $ 14,000.

Earl Howerton, executive director of Southside Outreach Group, shared information about Poplar Creek Homes with the Halifax County Board of Supervisors Tuesday evening.

The Supervisors’ Finance Committee reviewed the request when they met in August and requested more information from Earl Howerton, executive director of Southside Outreach Group.

At the finance committee meeting, ED-7 Supervisor and Vice President Garland Ricketts asked if the project would be included in the tax rolls, regarding project ownership and who benefits from the waived fees.

Howerton explained to the board, while Southside Outreach Group is a 501 (c) 3 with tax exemptions, it pays property taxes.

He also explained that they provide housing for “the most vulnerable citizens” and that an individual cannot earn more than $ 25,000 per year to rent from the Southside Outreach Group.

With the fees removed, Howerton said, “it would be less than they would have to pass on to low to moderate income families.”

After the executive director’s presentation, Ricketts said he believed Howerton’s comments clarified the context and saw no reason not to act.

Ricketts then brought forward a motion to approve the request for a waiver of building permit fees of up to $ 16,000. Clairborne seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously by the board of directors.

ED-2 supervisor Jeff Francisco was absent from the meeting.