Background of Wimberly Center for Community Development
Winder Housing Authority’s Mission Statement: “ To promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity, and an enhanced living environment for our community”.
Winder Housing Authority (WHA) prides itself on partnering with community organizations to provide resources that our clients need in order to become self-sufficient. These partners include local banks and churches, private sector, nonprofit, and governmental agencies.
In 2012, in conjunction with HUD’s ROSS program, WHA established the Family Self Sufficiency Program. 25 families committed to sign a five year contract to become self-sufficient. Through that process, WHA partnered with a number of organizations that bring valuable services to our participants.
As we began to work with our partners 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 old Winder Barrow Middle School (WBMS) was up for sale WHA 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 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), who’s namesake Mr. Robert Wimberly, a community pillar, served as principal at the school for many years and served on the WHA Board of Commissioners 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 home buyers, mortgage default, gardening classes, cooking classes, canning classes and more
- Winder Housing Authority – Wimberly’s Roots catering, community garden, healthy cooking classes , canning classes , and more. WHA is seeking partners for these programs.
- Piedmont CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children)
- A Kid’s Dream
- Live Forward
- Adult Literacy Barrow
- Lanier Tech
- Habitat for Humanity – Barrow County
- Barrow County Family Connection – Community Collaborative Agency-Targeting increased school success.
- Potential of Satellite offices for Dept. of Labor, Workforce Development Board, and Vocational Rehab
- Renovations for the Boys & Girls Club, ACTION, and WHA offices have been completed.
- Other areas may be renovated – 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.