• Simone Jameson KJNB TV

Mission Outreach NEA Seeks Assistance for Remodeling, Repairs

Mission Outreach of Northeast Arkansas has been assisting the underprivileged and under-served for more than thirty years. Seventy-one-year old Loretta Cooper calls the facility her home.

"It's here, and it's available for people like me that need it, and I help out where needed." states Cooper. This month, Mission Outreach is working to secure a government grant, for a little more than one hundred and ninety six thousand dollars, that would give the facility a much-needed face lift.

One of the primary goals in Mission Outreach securing the two-hundred thousand dollar grant is replacing the particle board in the dorm rooms with sheet-rock or another type of material. It is estimated to cost twenty-five thousand dollars.

The grant proposal includes plans to demolish the ceilings, level the floors, upgrade plumbing for the dorms, and re-wire the electrical system. Mission Outreach NEA development director Jackie Ross says the biggest gain will be adding a sprinkler system. Fire Marshals deemed the building a fire hazard.

"Sometimes we have as many as sixty people sleeping here at night," says Ross. "We need to make it a more safe and efficient building for our residents to be in."

The grant proposal only covers demolition and remodeling costs for one level. Costs to renovate the entire building exceed three-hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars. Ross says it will be a long haul to carry out all desired renovations. However, he is optimistic.

"We've fed close to sixty-thousand people," says Ross. "Over a thousand people slept here last year. A lot of people have a burning passion for the mission. Because they know what we do."

Paragould City Council will make a decision on whether to award Mission Outreach the funds in July.

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