Background of Wimberly Center for Community Development
WHAs Mission Statement is “ To promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity, and an enhanced living environment for our community”.
WHA prides itself on partnering with community organizations to provide resources that our clients need in order to become self-sufficient. These partners range from a number of local banks and churches, to a number of nonprofit and governmental agencies.
In 2012, in conjunction with HUD’s ROSS program, WHA established a Family Self Sufficiency program. 25 families committed to sign a five year contract to become self-sufficient. Through that process, WHA partnered up with a number of organizations that could bring valuable services to these individuals
As we began to work with our partners, some local and some in Athens, we realized that it would be beneficial to have as many partners under one roof, for not only our clients and the community, but also for the agencies to be able to share resources, knowledge and build relationships.
When we learned that the WBMS was going to become vacant we decided that this, along with its adjoining Osborne Park, may be an excellent location for this “ONE STOP SHOP” and some additional workforce or senior housing (mixed income, not public housing).
In Jan. 2013, City of Winder’s Urban Redevelopment Plan (URP) was approved, which identified 5 areas of Winder as blighted and needing a facelift. Glenwood was one of those areas. Renovating the school into a resource center was certainly validated.
As part of the URP, community meetings and surveys ( provided in partnership with NEGRC) identified after school programs for youth, and homeownership education/opportunities as top priorities.
WHA negotiated a contract with Barrow County Board of Education to purchase WBMS and the Osborne Park on March 20, 2014.
In mid- 2014, City of Winder and WHA partnered up on a $500,000 CDBG application, where the City was the lead applicant. In August 2014, we were successfully awarded the grant for $500,000.
During the same time, WHA decided to participate in HUDs RAD program, converting their entire portfolio of PH under HUDs PIH program to PBRA under HUDs Housing-Multifamily Program. RAD allows PHAs to bring in private capital/resources, in order to meet the demands for capital improvements. As of Jan. 2016, all WHA units have been sold to WHA affiliates, and are being operated as project based rental assistance units. WHA is the Mgmt. Agent for these sites. The sales proceeds of the units enabled WHA to purchase the Wimberly Center.
On February 2, 2016, WHA purchased the school and adjoining Osborne Park (20 acres total), naming it after Mr. Robert Wimberly, a community pillar, who served as principal at the school for many years, and served on the WHA Board of Directors for 15 years.
Current partners include:
- Boys & Girls Club of Winder –Barrow County (currently serve 70-80 per day, will expand to 175)
- Action Inc (a community action organization) includes Housing Counseling , Financial Literacy / Budgeting, Home Maintenance, Rental Rights and Responsibilities, First-time homebuyers, Mortgage Default, Gardening classes, Cooking classes, Canning classes)
- WHA Dave Ramsey financial literacy classes, DCA homeownership certification classes, community gardens (need partners for this), healthy cooking classes (need partners for this), canning classes (need partners for this), and much more.
- Piedmont CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children)
- Barrow Ministry Village(provides for the felt needs of others by granting scholarships/reduced rate counseling by licensed professionals, food, and resources for foster care families. The intention of this organization is to express the Gospel in tangible ways while providing for the real life needs of others )
- Barrow County Family Connection ( Community Collaborative Agency-Targeting increased graduation rates )
- Potential of Satellite offices for Dept. of Labor, Workforce Development Board, and Vocational Rehab
- One large wing remains available. Original plans called for Workforce Housing, however, we determined that would not be feasible, and have had a number of discussions with Early HeadStart about a potential expansion of our program.
- A General Contractor has been hired and renovations for the Boys & Girls Club, ACTION, and WHA offices have begun. Construction on these areas is scheduled to conclude in mid-late August, 2017.
- Other areas may be renovated in conjunction with these three through other funding sources and volunteerism.
- To date, 50 honor students from the Illinois State University have volunteered at the Center, with a number of other nonprofit and civic organizations lining up their plans as we speak.
- In conjunction with the Wimberly Center, WHA plans to build a senior housing development at Osborne Park property, adjacent to the school, where coordinated activities with the B&G Youth and the Senior’s will be possible.
- WHA purchased an additional 10 acre tract that is the future single family site for Veterans or Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.