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New Rowan Helping Ministries building to open soon

SALISBURY — The new Rowan Helping Ministries homeless shelter cannot open soon enough for Executive Director Kyna Grubb.
Ten children, in addition to dozens of adults, call the current shelter at 226 N. Long St. “home.” Because the original shelter was designed in 1989 to hold 40 men but now houses between 55 to 75 people every night, staff must turn nearly every part of the facility into a bedroom each evening.
The lobby, Crisis Assistance Network interview rooms and conference room all are transformed.
“Twice a day, every day, the furniture goes in and out,” Grubb said of the many cots used at RHM. “These door frames are really beat up.”
Every night since 2010, the shelter has housed at least one child.
At night, the cots are set up and families with children retire to the interview rooms. Women use the conference space and lobby. Men sleep in the original shelter area. In the morning, the cots are taken down, moved out and stored.
But the furniture hauling, door frame banging and lack of proper sleeping areas are about to come to an end.
Across the street stands the new homeless shelter and Jeannie’s Kitchen, the new soup kitchen. Dubbed the “Miracle on Long Street,” the 20,000-square-foot facility will open May 19.
The first meal in Jeannie’s Kitchen will be served at noon by Collin Grubb, the only surviving member of a trio of women who started the original soup kitchen at First Presbyterian Church. The trio included Grubb, who happens to be Kyna Grubb’s mother-in-law, as well as Jeannie Jordan and Ginny Williamson. Jordan’s daughter Lynn Beaver will serve lunch in memory and honor of her mother.
Homeless men, women and families will transition into the new shelter during a three-day period starting May 19.
The public is invited to tour the new building during an open house from 2 to 6 p.m. May 18. Donors, volunteers, public officials and workers will dedicate the facility during a private ceremony May 7.
Between May 7 and May 19, staff and volunteers will learn to use new equipment and machines including kitchen appliances and high efficiency washers, dryers and heating and cooling systems. The new building has solar power, and Grubb believes the facility will be one of the most energy efficient buildings in Rowan County.
People will be able to track energy use in the new building on the Rowan Helping Ministries’ website.
Construction is complete, and crews are now installing carpet and polishing floors. The furniture should arrive next week.
The parking lot, which will feature high-tech pervious pavers that allow rain water to soak into the ground rather than turn into runoff, is not complete yet, and building still requires a certificate of occupancy from Rowan County.
But after years of coping with a facility that could not adequately house Rowan County’s homeless, Grubb, her staff and the more than 2,500 volunteers who keep Rowan Helping Ministries running are just weeks away from witnessing a miracle on Long Street.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.

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