At the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Thursday, Feb. 15 meeting, the board decided unanimously that it could spare $1 million in county money to support the Servant Center – an organization that helps homeless veterans and others get back on their feet and into permanent housing.

The Servant Center Board of Directors voted to purchase the Holden Heights Building – a 37,000 square foot former nursing home at 214 W. Market St– in order to provide for expanded program needs as well as to add a medical respite unit.

The purchase price of the building is $3.3 million and renovations are expected to cost just over $1.4 million. With a total project price tag of roughly $4.7 million, the group needs a lot of financial help. And it’s been getting it – from the federal government, the state, the City of Greensboro, and, now, after the February 15 vote, from Guilford County.

The Servant Center already has funding commitments of $2.9 million and is in the process of seeking other funding opportunities to fill a $300,000 shortfall once Guilford County finishes its giving. Guilford County plans to hand the organization another half million dollars in fiscal year 2024-2025.

The new home of Servant Center is expected to be in operation by early 2025.

Since 1993, the Servant Center has been following its mission: “to empower the homeless and disabled, particularly veterans, to become independent contributing members of our community through housing, healthcare, and restorative services.”

At the meeting, Commissioner Pat Tillman, a veteran himself, spoke highly of the group’s work, and other commissioners as well said it is important to help support those who had given so much for the country.

The Center was originally planning to build a new facility on its current site to give the veterans living at Servant House their own bedrooms and bathrooms. However, the Holden Heights Building was thought to be a better choice for meeting the organization’s needs.

  Right now, more than 20 veterans at the Servant Center share 13 bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Currently, the group operates  a 21-bed transitional housing program for disabled veterans who are experiencing homelessness and it has 17 permanent supportive housing apartments in the Glenwood and Haworth Houses for low-income veterans with disabilities.

The Servant Center representatives say Guilford County needs a medical respite – a short-term residential care for homeless people who are too sick or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on their own, but not sick enough to be in a hospital. Additional space at the new facility will allow the Servant Center to meet that need with 22 medical respite beds.

Some operations of the group are funded by VA grants, but the medical respite bed program will be paid for by Medicaid expansion funds.