PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Wesley Community Service Center is the latest recipient of the Community Development Block Grant offered by the City of Portsmouth and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The non-profit organization said in a press release, the 1930s-era building, which currently serves as a hub for minority communities in Portsmouth’s Southside, will soon operate more efficiently.
The $92,900 grant is projected to cover the cost of improvements to include the installation of new HVAC units and thermostats, exterior woodwork, drainage improvements, and safety features including new exterior lighting and a video intercom door access system.
In addition the organization says the building will get a bright new sign to welcome its patrons.
“The building improvements using the CDBG funds will allow us to continue to serve the community more easily,” said Renyatta Banks, Wesley Community Service Center executive director.
“We will be able to provide a safe and comfortable environment for hosting the many services, classes, and programs we offer for nearby residents,” said Banks.
The Wesley Community Service Center has operated a food pantry for 30 years, providing boxes of fresh produce and shelf-stable foods to those in need.
The Center along with its 11-member board of directors and volunteers, also provide the following services:
- A tutoring program led by certified educators for students in grades 1-10
- Meals on Wheels deliveries for homebound residents
- Classes and workshops on healthy cooking and money management
- Wrap-around services to address physical and mental health needs
- A “Clothes Closet,” where residents can shop for gently-used clothing for $1 an item
During the month of October, workers are wrapping up work on the building, and Banks is planning to host a community open house in November.
The Center says masks and social distance will be required, and guests can tour the building and grounds to see the improvements and learn more about the Center’s offerings.
The Wesley Community Service Center is located at 1701 Elm Street in Portsmouth and was, founded in 1937 to help with community needs and social issues.
For additional information on the Wesley Community Service Center, visit their website.