Demolition of old Chesapeake library makes way for homelessness agency

The site of an old library Chesapeake is a pile of rubble, but But CEO Thaler McCormick envisions a new $1 million facility for an organization to help the homeless. (WAVY Photo).

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The site of an old library on Poindexter Street in the South Norfolk neighborhood of Chesapeake is a pile of rubble. But CEO Thaler McCormick envisions a new $12 million facility for an organization to help the homeless called ForKids.

“Last year we had more families and children sleeping actually on the floor of our shelter than we had in beds, so our turn away rates are extraordinary right now and I think that’s very challenging for families and children when they’re sleeping on the streets, moving around in hotels, from place to place, so that’s been one of our real goals is to be able to increase shelter capacity,” McCormick said.

ForKids is currently headquartered in Norfolk, but the new facility will bring its 100 employees to the site of the old library in South Norfolk, where crews were clearing debris from the demolition Tuesday.

The 60 to 70-thousand square-foot project will include educational and call centers and a shelter with more room for families, McCormick said. The shelter capacity will increase from 10 to 20 families and will accommodate families of different sizes, she said.

South Norfolk Civic League President Vicki Josue said the community, which had previously petitioned for a police precinct to move to the empty library’s spot, is behind the move.

“We are just so excited that we think it’s going to bring retail or other things into our community. We think it’s the beginning of a revitalization that…the people of South Norfolk have been working on for years,” Josue said.

ForKids helped 49,000 people throughout Hampton Roads last year, according to McCormick.

“We absolutely had no idea the need that was there in the community, not only, I’m sure there’s a need in our community also and all across the region, so we’re very excited that we can be a part to help that,” Josue said.

ForKids plans to purchase the land for the new project from the City of Chesapeake. It is funded through private capital and has raised $8 million of a $15 million campaign, McCormick said. To learn more about how to help, visit their website.