New emergency family shelter will take shape at Frederick historic farmhouse

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The City of Frederick sold the property to the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs for $1.

FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — For nearly a decade, a historic farmhouse in Frederick has laid vacant. But recently, the City of Frederick sold the property for a bargain. New plans for the building will help hundreds.

On Hayward Road, it isn’t hard to spot the bright blue water tower that bears the city name.

But what drivers, residents, and potential owners may have missed is the rundown, historic farmhouse previously for sale.

“There had been a number of contracts that had been put on the house– none had gone through. Everybody fled because it was cost-prohibitive. I was the crazy one that said ‘yes, let’s try to do this,” explained executive director for the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs, Nick Brown.

For the last two years, Brown says, the organization has had their eyes set on the former farmhouse for a new purpose.

Since 2014, the coalition has provided 139 families with shelter. The Emergency Family Shelter program places these families in one of about 15 different locations spread all across Frederick County.

These locations include churches and places of worship. Events hosted during the day may require families to pack up and move.

“There’s a lot of movement involved and we want to provide a little more stability for the children that have to come through the program. We’ve known since the onset of the original program that we’ve needed to find a permanent site in parallel to the family shelter’s operation,” Brown explained.

He admits it took some convincing for the religious coalition to jump on board with plans to renovate the more than 9,000 square-foot property to become the new emergency family shelter.

What made plans go a bit smoother was how much it cost to buy the place. 

“It was really more valuable for the city to give the property away effectively. We settled on a $1 purchase price,” explained mayor for the City of Frederick, Michael O’Connor.

The city and the coalition recently closed the deal, and plans are already set to construct 10 full suites.

Each suite will have its own bathroom. On the main floor, families will have use of the kitchen and common area.

The project will be able to house many more people.

“We should have the capacity to take three times the current capacity. So right now we can house 15 [people], we hope to house 50 [people] when it’s all said and done,” Brown said.

Construction is expected to begin in June and could last up to a year.

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