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Darlene Marcusson, Executive Director
Community Foundation Grant puts Lazarus House on Solid Footing
ST CHARLES – A $13,750 flooring grant from the Community Foundation of The Fox River Valley has provided a “solid foundation” to guests, clients and staff at Lazarus House, a community shelter serving persons connected to mid-Kane County who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness.
Lazarus House, located in the historic district of St. Charles, acquired two older buildings near its main facility in the past few years to support its operations. The Women and Children’s Day Center was put into use to accommodate a growing population of homeless women and children. The Community Resource Center was opened to manage a growing Outreach (rental assistance) program. Although both buildings underwent some rehabbing before they were occupied, the flooring presented an issue.
The heavy use in the Women and Children’s Day Center wore down the existing hardwood floor, making it difficult to clean and causing slivers. Refinishing would have put the building out of use for an extended period of time, which simply wasn’t an option. The floor in the Community Resource Building was made of wide pine planks, but had significant – and growing – gaps between the boards, causing a trip hazard. Much-needed funding from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley paved the way to a new and improved, easy to clean, commercial grade flooring.
“These new floors have made all the difference it the world,” said Lazarus House Executive Director Darlene Marcusson. “Now our children no longer get slivers when they move around. Also, these floors are much easier to maintain and keep clean, which is so important when small children drop things.”
Outreach Manager and Associate Director Liz Eakins is the first one to rave about the new floors in the Community Resource Center. “Everyone used to tease me that I’d fall to the basement through the gaps between the planks. Now our Outreach clients, some of who have disabling conditions, can move to our offices with ease and without fear of tripping and we can move our chairs without issue.
“We are very grateful to the Community Foundation of The Fox River Valley for making this new flooring a reality,” Marcusson said. “In these tough economic times, we simply could not have done the work without financial help. We must focus on maximizing the use of every dollar we receive to pay operating costs to ensure that our neighbors, who need help, can continue to find food, safe shelter and supportive services through us.”
This fiscal year, Lazarus House is averaging 63 guests a day at its shelter. The Outreach department is supporting about 55 households monthly with rental subsidies.