Local Lutheran Groups Dedicate Ministry Center

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DATELINE: Ft. Wayne, Indiana, January 20, 2010

Where once sat a vacant commercial building in a working-class neighborhood, individuals with disabilities now receive respite care services through the ministry of Bethesda Lutheran Communities. And while today the Lutheran Community Outreach Center (LCOC) is an important part of the overall work of Bethesda as it serves a six-county area in NE Indiana, it took the considerable effort of many partners coordinated by NHSC to bring the project from concept to reality.

In 2017, some seven years after the LCOC was dedicated, Bethesda is the only agency still providing services in the LCOC. Initially, however, Bethesda shared space with Lutheran Military Veterans and Family Ministries, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana and NHSC. As a result of Bethesda’s program expansion, the organization now occupies and provides services in the entire building.

Bethesda Respite Care Services allow caregivers a respite from the challenges of providing ongoing care for an individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities. This respite is important to the health and well-being of the entire family. Since the level of care depends on the needs of the client, it is important that a recognized expert such as Bethesda Lutheran Communities provide these services in a safe and secure location. At the time that the LCOC was developed, Bethesda Respite Care Services was estimated to serve 75 persons each month. Bethesda now provides service for 128 individuals each month.

NHSC provided leadership not only in the development of the project, but also in project oversight and management. In this case, NHSC arranged for the donation of the use of the building. Additionally, the owners provided 50% of the cost to renovate the building, valued at $182,500. The lease on the 14,700-square-foot building is valued at more than $2.6 million for the life of the 15-year lease.

It was necessary for NHSC and other project partners to raise additional funds to make the project possible. Since that time, Bethesda has continued to invest in the maintenance and upkeep of the building, bringing the total investment to near $500,000. While this is significant, it is a small amount considering what it has been able to leverage.

Bethesda Lutheran Communities estimates they could serve as many as 157 individuals each month at the LCOC. This means the time and energy to develop the LCOC was worth the considerable investment necessary on the part of NHSC and those who support its work.

For this local project, NHSC:

  1. Secured partnerships to occupy and deliver services in the building.
  2. Managed relationships between partners including coordination of ongoing meetings to discuss roles, responsibilities and lease structure.
  3. Managed the construction process and monitored costs, created a preliminary operating budget, planned space and interior design, and made sure costs aligned with grant awards.
  4. Secured in-kind contributions of materials to offset construction costs.
  5. Identified and cultivated funding opportunities and prepared grant applications to fund the construction.

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