Ryan’s House for Youth will begin moving into its new digs in the former Countryside Inn south of Coupeville on Tuesday. But the work to fully convert the space into an inhabitable transitional living facility for homeless youth is far from finished.
The non-profit organization is currently seeking funds to alleviate the cost of a much higher-than-expected repair bill, as well as the cost of $15,000 annual insurance. They are also seeking donations of volunteer hours, money or goods such as food and toiletries.
Executive Director Lori Cavender said she and her colleagues were aware the roofing was in disrepair when they began scoping out the building in February. But it appears to have sustained more damage than they had initially realized, attributable in part to an especially wet winter.
Of the three roofs, two of which are flat, two need to be replaced.
The organization is sticking with a plan to replace the roof this summer, as the older sections of the building require a full roof replacement.
Cavender said the primary stumbling block was a drastic underestimation of repair costs by the bank’s roofer, who had given an estimate of $16,000. Quotes obtained since then are more in the realm of $45,000. They have yet to determine why the initial estimate was so much lower than the more recent two.
Cavender said the worst of the damage is located in what is to be her office. There, the outside wall must be replaced as water damage from the roof leakage has caused a mold infestation and mushrooms to grow. The top priority, however, is revitalizing the drop-in center space.
The floor in this area, though not as severe as Cavender’s future office, was also the worse for wear. Cavender, her husband and a Ryan’s House student have been working to install new tile and carpet.
Despite the issues, Cavender said she has no doubt the space will be inhabitable come September for students to move in full-time. The drop-in center and staff offices will be relocated next week according to schedule.
Ryan’s House is currently seeking applicants for the full-time live-in staff position. The employee would be given accommodation in one of the on-site apartments and would also receive free meals.
“It is such a wonderful blessing. Once we are actually in there and are able to serve these kids with all of these services, it is going to benefit the community in a huge way,” Cavender said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and official opening of the transitional living units are slated for Sept. 10.
“It’s gonna be beautiful,” Cavender said.