RALEIGH — On the same day that state officials agreed to lease the Dorothea Dix campus to Raleigh for a public park, it also voted to expand the amount of land at Dix that it leases to a shelter that works with homeless men with substance abuse problems.
The Healing Place of Wake County has leased more than 4 acres of Dix property off Lake Wheeler Road since 1999 and built a mens shelter there.
On Tuesday, the Council of State agreed to lease an additional 6.1 acres behind the shelter to accommodate future expansion.
Were completely filled at the mens center, said Healing Place President and CEO Dennis Parnell. If we operate at 80 percent capacity thats ideal, because theres some flexibility in the beds. But right now, we dont have any of that. Were up to 100 percent every night.
The Healing Place operates an emergency shelter, a detoxification center and shelter for people enrolled in recovery and transition programs, and has 180 beds. It doesnt turn away homeless people who arrive intoxicated.
More services for homeless
Having more than 10 acres at Dix would allow the Healing Place to build as many as four additional buildings, Parnell said.
Weve always kind of had our eyes on that property behind us, and nows a good time to get it done, he said. Who knows whats going to happen to the Dix property, but we need to make sure the Healing Place is going to be here to serve the community deep into the future.
Most of the new buildings would expand current services, especially giving the shelter the capacity to operate as an emergency shelter, but would also add outpatient treatment, Parnell said.
The number of homeless in Wake County has remained about 1,140 since 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments annual homeless point-in-time count. But the number of homeless people with substance abuse problems has grown from 357 in 2008 to 466 people this year, according to the count.
About 70 percent of graduates from the Healing Places programs are sober a year later, according to shelter data.
The Healing Place also operates a 99-bed womens shelter on Glen Royal Road and has adequate beds and space for demand, Parnell said. Because it owns the womens shelter property, there is room for expansion.