The Lazarus Project

Homeless veterans might have a place to call home as a local church seeks to “resurrect” their hopes for a better life.

 

Just as Lazarus was resurrected from the grave in the Gospel of John, Gregg Chapel African Methodist Church in conjunction with nonprofit Third Chance, Inc. hopes its Lazarus Project will revive homeless veterans’ opportunities by building a new housing complex.

The housing, to be called the House of Valor, will feature six, one-bedroom, fully-furnished apartments. The Rev. Cecil Williams, pastor of Gregg Chapel, said he’s reaching out to the community for the next 90 days to help finance the project.

“I see so many homeless veterans come through our church’s feeding program,” Williams said. “They’re here and they’re deserving of our help. This project is going to help soldiers who are down and out get back on their feet.”

Land owned by Gregg Chapel at 19 Nicholson St. in Fort Walton Beach will be used for the one level, garden style complex. Rent will cost about $500 for veterans. Williams said most of the rent likely will be paid through veteran vouchers.

 

The Okaloosa County Community Development Corp. has given the Lazarus Project a $200,000 grant. The entire is estimated to cost about $500,000.

“The $500,000 includes demolition of existing houses on the property, infrastructure, building construction costs and landscaping,” Williams said.

The Lazarus Project will go further than housing, according to Williams. The Veteran’s Court Coordinator, Career Source, Homelessness & Housing Alliance and Bridgeway Center Inc. are partnering with Williams to provide the veterans with new wardrobes, counseling, job opportunities and more.