Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ark of Hope Moves Closer to Building Homes for Children in Foster Care

HIGH SPRINGS, Fla. — Ark of Hope for Children, Inc. (Ark of Hope) is striving to build three to six homes near Gainesville, Fla., for abused siblings, children and youth who live in foster care. By keeping siblings together, ending unnecessary moves to new homes every two months or so, and providing love, mentors, tutors and counseling, Ark of Hope can provide real life change to some of the more than 513,000 children living in foster care.

Each home will house up to six foster children to allow each home to retain the feeling of a normal home. Foster parents will serve for a minimum of one to two years and will receive salaries, food, vehicles, benefits and respite breaks.
The charity has an 80-acre parcel of land upon which to build, and has received support from community partners and businesses to help make building a reality. Donations, including in-kind, include surveying the property and clearing a 1/4-mile easement road.

A national supplier has offered to donate materials, a builder has offered to serve as general contractor, another builder has volunteered to “dry-in” the building for cost, a plumbing contractor has offered free plumbing labor for the entire house, a cement contractor has offered to provide free labor in laying the foundation of the house, an air conditioning and heating subcontractor has offered free labor, and a cement plant has offered to donate cement for the complete foundation.
According to Blair Corbett, vice president of Ark of Hope, in order to move forward on the project, Ark of Hope still needs to raise building funds and create a floor plan suitable enough to receive building permit approval.

To help raise needed funds, Ark of Hope is selling one of its 20-acre parcels in High Springs. The property is selling for $13,900 per acre, which is below market value. Sale of the property will pay off the balance owed while providing approximately $100,000 for Ark for Hope’s building fund. Click here to view the parcel for sale, courtesy of Jay Rist of RE/MAX Professional, Inc.

Ark of Hope For Children, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in High Springs, Fla. The organization is building a Christian-based community to provide homes of hope for siblings from foster care. All of the children served by the program were previously abused and neglected in the Florida foster care system. The goal of Ark of Hope is to bring and keep siblings together in a loving, caring environment and to give them hope for a bright future.

Siblings in foster care are able to remain together less than 30 percent of the time, and most children move from four to six homes per year. These children need stability in their lives, and Ark of Hope seems to be meeting an underserved need by finding a way to keep these children together. We hope the organization will continue its successful efforts and achieve its goals.

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