Expansion of Miami’s Lotus House Shelter Wins Final Approval

Press Release
July 19, 2016

MIAMI, FL - Miami's most vulnerable women and children will soon get some much-needed relief. Lotus House, one of South Florida's most impactful nonprofit homeless shelters, has won City approval for a state-of-the-art facility that will increase its current capacity from 250 to 490 people. Construction of the project will begin this September, with an anticipated completion date in the fall of 2017.

Now in its 10th year serving Miami's homeless from its campus in Overtown, Lotus House has welcomed thousands of women and children, including 128 newborns. Still, more than 2,000 homeless women and children are turned away annually due to lack of space. More than a traditional shelter, Lotus House offers social and supportive services that assist women and youth in transitioning from the streets by strengthening the mind, body and spirit. This model has helped more than 80 percent of all guests transition to homes outside the shelter system.

The new Lotus Village will replace the shelter’s five existing buildings with a single building nestled amidst fountains and lush landscaping. Lotus Village will include a holistic wellness center where guests will access primary care and restorative therapies such as massage and acupuncture; a community health clinic; an arts and activity lab; a computer library; a beauty salon; a vegetable garden; a children’s center and daycare; and a kitchen where guests will learn cooking techniques in preparation for independent living and food service careers. A community pavilion will host book readings, movie viewings, live performances, dance workshops, and inspirational speakers.

“The most difficult part of our day has always been turning away women and children in need of a place to call home, a warm meal, and a loving place to heal,” says Constance Collins, founder of Lotus House. “The City’s approval of Lotus Village means we’ll be able to expand our mission by growing the number of guests we shelter and enhancing the programs we offer. Our new home will help us deliver a stronger quality of life and greater self-sufficiency for the most fragile among us, while supporting our neighborhood with much-needed health and wellness support."

The expansion comes as Miami-Dade County contends with a growing homeless population. An annual homeless census conducted in 2015 found that over 1,000 people were living on the streets, marking a 30 percent increase over 2014. In fact, there were 5,701 school children registered as homeless by the Miami-Dade County Public School system at the end of the 2015-16 school year. Miami's urban core, which incorporates Lotus House's neighborhood, is home to the County's largest concentration of homeless, many of whom are children and families.

The approval of Lotus Village coincides with the Lotus Endowment Fund’s campaign aimed at securing financial support for the shelter’s expansion and operation. The organization is aiming to secure $25 million in private contributions and financing, as well as sponsorships and grants.

The team behind the Lotus Village project includes Miami developer and philanthropist Martin Margulies, the team of Javier Aviñó at law firm Bilzin Sumberg, and Behar Font Architects. Financing has been provided by US Trust/Bank of America.

About Lotus House
Situated in the heart of Overtown, Miami, Lotus House provides shelter, sanctuary and support to women, youth and children who are amongst the most fragile and needy in our community. Lotus House is home to over 250 women, youth and children on a daily basis who are homeless, whether due to domestic violence, medical or mental health issues, disabilities, loss of employment or other economic reasons. Lotus House ensures access to free, holistic health and wellness services, including individual and group counseling, women’s wellness exams, basic health care, eye care, dental care, health and wellness education, and alternative pathways to healing. At Lotus House, the minds, bodies and spirits of women, youth and children are nurtured and supported to empower them to improve the quality of their lives on every level, achieve greater self-sufficiency, and build the foundation for a brighter future.

About Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc, the sponsor of the Lotus Village Project
The sponsor of the Lotus Village project is Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., a 501c3, non-profit charitable foundation formed and operated exclusively to support the Sundari Foundation, Inc. dba Lotus House, itself a 501c3, non-profit public charity dedicated to providing support, education, tools and resources to poor, disadvantaged and homeless women, youth and children in our community. Learn more about the Lotus Village project and ways to help at lotusendowment.org or contact Constance Collins, President, at constance@lotusendowment.org.

Javier F. Aviñó
Practice Group Leader, Land Development & Government Relations
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