The Sundari Foundation, Inc. (D.B.A. The Lotus House)
New Construction; comprehensive homeless services facility
Lotus Village will be a 100,000-square-foot, five-story, comprehensive homeless services facility designed as a sanctuary for women, families, and children in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood. Lotus Village expands the existing work of Lotus House, a homeless shelter and service provider founded in 2004, to house, heal, and empower women, youth and children. Currently, Lotus House serves over 200 women and children daily in an undersized, functionally obsolete, and aging facility, and is forced to turn away more than 2,500 people annually. Key components of Lotus Village include:
- 140 campus-style living units, accommodating 490 women, youth and children at a time
- Children’s wellness center and daycare facility
- Community health clinic
- Commercial kitchen to prepare healthy food for the guests of Lotus Village and serve as a classroom for training and nutrition programs
- Additional space for education, counseling and job training programs
Lotus Village will represent a dramatic expansion of the existing Lotus House—a stable environment where some of Miami’s most vulnerable women, youth and children can reestablish their lives. The project will offer not only necessary emergency shelter, but will also present an opportunity to bring quality healthcare, comprehensive childcare services, and job training to Lotus Village’s program participants and the wider Overtown neighborhood. The building will seek U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification.
The $28.6 million project was made possible with New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) from several organizations. Enterprise provided $9 million in allocation while financing partners Florida Community Loan Fund provided $13.5 million and Bank of America $4 million in allocation. Bank of America was the equity investor for the full NMTC allocation and provided $16.9 million in term debt to the project. Additionally, $2.7 million in sponsor equity was provided to the project.
Miami-Dade County has long struggled with poverty and homelessness. The need for shelter and services is particularly acute for Miami’s homeless women, families, and children. Among the thousands of people experiencing homelessness in the area, more than a third are in a household that includes children while relying on emergency shelters for their housing needs.
Lotus Village’s emergency shelter will accommodate approximately 490 women, youth and children at a time. The project will include a children’s wellness center with play and parent/child therapy rooms, and a daycare facility with a playground serving approximately 70 children at a time.
Lotus Village’s community health clinic will offer primary and preventive care, wellness exams, maternal and pediatric care, behavioral healthcare (psychiatric, counseling, and addiction recovery), eye care, and dental services. It will provide approximately 5,000 visits annually.
Job training and skill development will be available through programming around Lotus Village’s computer library and at the onsite working classroom kitchen. The computer library programs will cover both basic and advanced computer skills, services for achieving a graduation equivalency (GED), and English/Spanish literacy. The kitchen be used to prepare nutritious meals for program participants and guests and will also serve as a classroom for food-service training and nutrition programs. The working classroom kitchen is expected to deliver more than 350,000 meals annually.
The overall Lotus Village project is expected to create 71 permanent positions. An additional estimated 27 training internships will be retained and created for Lotus Village participants and program graduates.
The Sundari Foundation, Inc. (D.B.A. The Lotus House) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in June 2004. The Foundation’s mission is the education, advancement and social inclusion of poor, disadvantaged, and homeless women and children. The Foundation operates the Lotus House Women's Shelter as a free, holistic, shelter and resource center, providing housing, meals, counseling, social services referrals and advocacy, educational advancement opportunities, life skills and job readiness training, enrichment activities and support services.
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