CHAPEL HILL – The early steps in developing a new community shelter in your community is underway, thanks to the Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s Inter-Faith Council for Social Service.

The two-story structure on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will serve as a transitional housing facility for men.  There will be 52 beds on a full-time basis and an additional 17 beds for emergency conditions such as adverse weather.

Interim executive director of the Inter-Faith Council, John Dorward, says these kinds of community shelters are important given the lack of affordable housing in Chapel Hill and especially in the wake of the June 30 flood.

“I’m not certain that everyone who was displaced has been able to figure it out,” Dorward says. “Not everybody has family or friends that can take them in.”

Some residents in the MLK Jr. Blvd. community have responded skeptically to the construction of a shelter in their vicinity. Dorward says the IFC has already taken steps to address this issue through a Good Neighbor plan.

“There will be a committee that oversees and meets on a regular basis to see if there are issues, if there are problems, if there are things that come up once we get into the shelter,” Dorward says.

While the IFC is waiting for more capital to build the shelter itself, already using some funds procured by U.S. Representative David Price, developers are grading and grassing over the land for the shelter’s site.

“If all goes well with that, and it has so far, we anticipate that in the Spring of next year, we’ll start building the facility,” Dorward says. “By the end of next year, early part of 2015, we should be able to move in and begin the program anew over there.”

The shelter will be located on the northwest corner of MLK Jr. Blvd. and Homestead Road, right next to the United Church.