The 1105 Project hosts open house in new location


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The vacated renovation site of the new 1105 Project — next to the Crisis Center of Johnson County — was filled with the enthusiasm of local community members on Sunday during the project’s first open-house event.

Located at 1105 S. Gilbert Court, the new site will be home to four local agencies that share the common goal of helping Johnson County’s most vulnerable populations. The four-part alliance comprises the Crisis Center of Johnson County, the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, the Free Lunch Program, and the Johnson County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“This building represents a significant step for four nonprofit agencies in our community,” said Sara Langenberg, capital campaign head for the project. “[It will] merge resources, programs, time and energy toward projects that will allow each agency to reach more clients under one roof.”

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors sold the former public-health building to the Crisis Center for $1. Officials anticipate the new location will provide 45,000 combined services to people each year.

The total estimated cost of the project is $1.3 million. So far, the project has raised $285,000. With the projected opening date fast approaching in January 2014, the project has less than 100 days to raise the remaining renovation money. Officials are encouraging locals to get involved and donate to the project.

Becci Reedus, the executive director of the Crisis Center, said the 1105 project grew out for the need to expand parking. When she found that the Free Lunch Program as well as the Domestic Violence Intervention Program were also in search of new locations the idea for a joint location began.

“The first year that we’re in the building is going to be interesting to see the kinds of ideas that we have as a group of four agency leaders,” Reedus said.

The four agencies working together in one building makes more sense for their clients, shesaid. Finding a person who utilizes more than one of these agencies at any given time is not uncommon she said.

Christine Scheetz, the president and CEO of United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties, said having all of these resources under one roof will help people with a variety of needs get help in a more expedient fashion.

“Initially, the immediate needs are being addressed, but over time from people being able to access services in a very coordinated way, the needs are ultimately reduced and people are on the way to greater stability,” Scheetz said.

For domestic-violence victims, the 1105 location will provide security and access that was previously less accessible, said Jan Leff, the head of the Crisis Center Board of Directors.

“This building will provide a public storefront for [the intervention program,]” she said. “In the past, its location has been hidden, and now a future client could come here under the supposition that he or she is going to go to free lunch, or they’re going to go to the Crisis Center … without jeopardizing your safety or your children’s safety too.”

The domestic-violence portion of the building will also have a security system to ensure clients will have a safe area in which to seek help.

John Spitzer, the Crisis Center treasurer, said he looks forward to the opportunities this new area can bring to the county.

“I hope to see a very well-functioning building that houses these four agencies and see the collaborative nature of the work that we’ve started continue,” Spitzer said.