After acquiring five parcels of land for $3.5 million directly across from its 500-bed shelter in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, Lotus House plans to construct a new 75,000 square foot, $20 million facility called The Children’s Village to enhance the needs of the youth sheltered at Lotus Village and the surrounding community.
“When it comes to ending homelessness among our youth, ensuring access to education and the socialization that comes with it is just as essential as providing food, healthcare and shelter,” Constance Collins says, Executive Director of Lotus House. “I am often reminded that play is children’s work. Play is how children learn, express themselves creatively, develop strong social and emotional skills, explore and discover the world around them. The Children’s Village will offer therapeutic services, educational support, diverse programming, and a creative environment for the children and youth of Overtown, including those sheltered at Lotus House, equipping them to succeed in school and life.”
While Lotus House focuses on ending homelessness, with 80% of its guests exiting the shelter system after leaving the shelter, The Children’s Village aims to prevent homelessness by focusing on children’s educational, therapeutic, social, and wellness needs at a young age. The Children’s Village will also serve as home to other community-based nonprofits, offering resources and programming for children and youth and their families in Overtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
“By co-locating with other nonprofits within The Children’s Village, we are establishing a new model for unprecedented collaboration, community engagement, cooperation and holistic support for children and families,” Collins says. “The pandemic has exacerbated so many inequities, gaps, and needs in our community, particularly for the children and youth we shelter. With our community’s generous support, The Children’s Village will make many more dreams come true here in the heart of Overtown,” she added.
Lotus Village, which opened in 2017, is a state-of-the-art shelter that serves up to 500 women and children nightly with services to women and children experiencing homelessness. The new building will comprise five floors housing classrooms, supportive services and resources for children and youth of all ages from Lotus Village and the surrounding community.
The nonprofit’s expansion is made possible through Lotus Village II, LLC’s recently completed $3.5 million acquisition of five parcels of land located at NW 14th Terrace and NW 2nd Avenue. The $20 million project will be funded through a combination of philanthropic gifts and financing arranged by Lotus Endowment Fund, Inc., launched as a capital campaign to raise the private funds needed to build, operate and maintain The Children’s Village at Lotus Village.