Now that Jerdon Construction Services LLC of Upper Macungie Township has demolished the old Sixth Street Shelter in Allentown, the company is building a new one.
President Ron Jerdon said the company is working with the owner, Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley Inc., the architect, The Architectural Studio of Allentown, and volunteer organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, First Presbyterian Church and Housing Association & Development Corp. to get the project finished by September.
At 4,200 square feet, the two-story structure will have five efficiency apartments for temporary housing of the homeless, Jerdon said.
Habit for Humanity is coordinating volunteer efforts with other nonprofits to do some of the framing work, Jerdon said.
Construction costs are about $450,000, Jerdon said, though this does not include mechanical, electrical and plumbing, which is a separate contract.
“What was intriguing to me was what the mission aspect is for the Sixth Street Shelter,” said Jerdon. “I've led construction teams in Iowa, Haiti, South Dakota and Native American reservations. I've just always been compelled to help with these things.”
The company recently installed footings and is pouring foundations now to prepare for Habitat volunteers who will do a significant amount of the framing work, Jerdon said.
Workers also are capping parts of the stone walls.
“We wish this wasn't needed, but we're grateful to the community for making this possible,” said Alan Jennings, executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem. “It says a lot about the character of the Lehigh Valley, despite a less than robust economy that they stepped up to provide the funding.”
The organization is conducting an expansion campaign for the shelter and so far received $780,000 of the $810,000 it needs to achieve its goal, Jennings said.
The Sixth Street Shelter, a housing assistance program of the organization, has 80 to 100 people on its waiting list at any time.