New homeless shelter taking shape

by Sonja J. Keith

Construction on the new homeless shelter in Conway is going well, with Bethlehem House officials eyeing a November completion.

“The rain has made a slight impact in the schedule, but we are planning to be in the new facility by the first of November,” said Judi Lively, executive director at Bethlehem House. “It’s exciting to watch the progress each day.”

Nabholz Construction is in charge of the project on the Duncan Street site, located a few blocks north of the current facility.

Stacia and Johnny Adams served as co-chairs of the Home for the Homeless capital campaign which raised more than $1.3 million for the project. “It is very exciting to see it go up and know what an impact it will have on the community and those in need,” said Johnny Adams.

According to Lively, there are no fundraising events planned at this time, but the capital campaign impacted Bethlehem’s operational giving. “We’re looking at ways to increase that,” she said, adding that residents and staff have made all natural lotion bars that can be purchased at Appletree in downtown or Liz’s Health Food.

Last year, two grants and a lead corporate gift were announced to kick off the public phase of the capital campaign. Conway Corporation, which operates the city-owned electric, water, wastewater, cable internet and cable television utility services for the citizens of Conway, provided a lead gift of $250,000. The city of Conway has also awarded $150,000 through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

The J. E. and L. E. Mabee Foundation Inc., a Delaware non-profit corporation, has provided a matching grant of $230,000 and the Windgate Charitable Foundation, based in Siloam Springs, has also awarded a matching grant for $200,000.

The 100-year-old Victorian house on Faulkner Street that has housed the Bethlehem House mission since it began in 1991 is in desperate need of immeasurable costly repairs.

The new 7,200-square-foot facility will allow Bethlehem House to provide transitional housing for 35 residents in one location and up to eight people in emergency situations – a much-needed resource that doesn’t exist in Faulkner, Perry or Conway counties. The new facility will also have a larger dining room and kitchen that will better accommodate the soup kitchen that Bethlehem House offers every night.

For more information or to make an online donation to Bethlehem House, please visit

Individuals can also donate to Bethlehem House while grocery shopping at Kroger through its community rewards program. To participate:

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