Wilmington Chamber of Commerce scissors will snip through ribbon Friday to celebrate the official opening of Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry’s new headquarters at 5058 Wrightsville Ave.
WARM, which renovates and repairs homes so low-income owners can remain in them safely, decided to itself become a property owner after six years in the Harrelson Center downtown. In the 20-year-old organization’s early days, it operated out of a church in Wrightsboro and out of board members’ homes, executive director JC Skane said Thursday.
“It might seem that we’re growing our infrastructure,” Skane said of WARM’s property purchase. “The point, though, was to become leaner and eventually to have no rent or mortgage payment. It’s the best and most efficient use of our funds.”
WARM now occupies a 1,600-square-foot residence that had been turned into a doctor’s office and has consolidated its downtown and Hampstead offices there. WARM currently has a full-time staff of six and is seeking to fill a half-time administrative position, according to Skane. It also has a long roster of volunteers, who log a total of 12,000 to 14,000 hours of donated labor every year.
Soon, some of those volunteers will start work on a 24-foot-by-24-foot workshop to be built on the property. The main space will be used for volunteer training and projects; a loft will be used for storage, Skane said.
“We have had no storage to put donated materials, like cabinets,” she said. “And we use a lot of cabinets. But because we couldn’t store [donations], we would end up having to buy [materials].”
Another need was parking. While WARM was housed at the Harrelson Center, there was no place to park tool trailers and large trucks. Those had to go home with volunteers, Skane said, but now can remain on the property.
“The Harrelson Center helped us grow; it was like an incubator. But now our new location can now do a better job of meeting the physical needs of our mission,” she said, adding that the new location along Wrightsville Avenue also increases WARM’s visibility.
The ribbon cutting takes place at 11 a.m. Friday and is followed by an open house that runs until 2 p.m.