A newly formed local nonprofit plans to break ground on a new emergency homeless shelter in the next couple months, and that's just the beginning.
The brainchild of Dr. Matt Dekay, of Mesa Family Practice, the first phase of the new homeless shelter will increase the number of beds available in the homeless community from 30 to 64.
"We essentially are going to be building an extension of PATH (People Assisting the Homeless)," Dekay said. "There will also be a little medical room for myself."
The Four Corners Foundation, a local nonprofit formed in 2010, is the agency behind the project. It spent the last year quietly raising funds through word of mouth.
"Dr. Dekay and his wife started the foundation," said foundation Co-Executive Director Karen Broten. "He wanted to build a better Farmington."
While the new shelter is the foundation's first effort at improving the community, its mission isn't limited to combating hopelessness.
"The Four Corners Foundation is looking for ways to help improve the Four Corners community," Broten said. "This is just one of the ways we envision doing that. Our goal is to come alongside organizations that are doing good work in the community. We want to make their work easier."
Despite being a relatively new organization, it didn't take long before the community started rallying in support of Dekay's vision.
Last year it received $166,000, and this year the city awarded the foundation all $229,000 it had available for capital projects.
"It's an extremely important project for this community," said Mayor Tommy Roberts. "The needs of the homeless have been underserved historically. We've had different agencies trying to provide that service but it's certainly important to grow that program and the PATH home is a way to do that."
The shelter will be located on more than 5 acres of land along the Animas River off Hydroplant Road. The two-phase project is expected to cost approximately $3 million.
"We hope to start construction on the first phase in the next couple of months," Dekay said. "The first phase will be an emergency shelter and the second phase will be transitional housing where people will be able to stay as long as two to three years."
The goal, according to Dekay, is to make the shelter as self sustaining as possible.
"We are going to have a trout pond, agricultural area and hopefully a tree farm," Dekay said. "All those we hope will generate some revenue to sustain ourselves."
Once the new shelter is open, PATH will close its existing shelter and take over the new facility's operations. Funding for the operation of the new shelter will be a combination of revenue PATH already receives and continued donations from the community.
"I'm very excited," said PATH Executive Director Jonna Sharpe. "Shelters are very crucial for helping people out of hopelessness."
Sharpe imagines that old PATH shelter will still see use.
"We really haven't decided because we actually own this facility," Sharpe said. "There are a lot of other needs in the community, other agencies that might need to expand their programs. It won't be an emergency shelter, but there may be other uses for it."
The new shelter will serve the same population and have the same requirements of its clients. Residents will have to be sober, looking for work and actively trying to better their circumstances.
"It's a sober living facility," Broten said. "People will need to have a plan in place to work on a better life."
The project wouldn't be possible without the help of the community, Dekay said.
"It has been tremendously received by the community," he said. "One of the large donors said this is something the community has needed for the last 35 years. Farmington always takes care. People are extremely generous and this is a lot bigger than me. No matter what I think, it will be a gem for our community."