Before 2016, the Salvation Army in Birmingham operated in a dated, deteriorating 50-year-old facility which was inadequate to accommodate the current and increasing need for transitional housing for those facing homelessness and other vitally important services to the low-income community. In order to relocate its services and operations to a vibrant, expanded facility, The Salvation Army redeveloped the shuttered historic Lewis Elementary School and built three new buildings.
The new 110,000-sq. ft. facility features emergency and transitional housing and an innovative Education and Workforce Development Center, as well as meal services, educational programs, life skills training and many other services. The enhanced, expanded facility accommodates a 52 percent increase in the Center’s ability to provide safe and secure housing and a full array of social services to low-income individuals and families, US Veterans, and residents of the community and surrounding communities. The center provides 100 percent of these services to low-income individuals, reaching over 13,000 low-income people annually,
Located in a neighborhood with an unemployment rate of over 20 percent, the project created 11 new, quality full-time permanent jobs (paying 48 percent above the local living wage), 253 construction jobs, and 350-525 jobs through the Education and Workforce Development program. Over 50 percent of the new jobs were filled by low-income persons or residents of the surrounding low-income community. The Salvation Army actively promotes from within the organization, providing training and career advancement opportunities for employees, which are enhanced by the new Education and Workforce Development Center.
The project was financed through $6 million in NMTC allocation from DV Community Investment, $11 million from AMCREF Community Capital, LLC, and $4 million from MBS Urban Initiatives CDE, LLC, an affiliate of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc.