Open House Ministries takes up an entire block on downtown Vancouver’s west edge and recently took steps to expand its footprint.
The faith-based nonprofit serving homeless families and women was given two properties across the street, at the northwest corner of West 12th and Jefferson streets. The houses on those properties were demolished and will eventually make way for housing for graduates of Open House’s shelter program, but for now the lot will solve a more simple problem.
Open House packs a lot into what its executive director Renee Stevens has called “the God block.” There’s the family shelter, Second Hand Solutions Thrift Store and Wheel Deals, a bicycle shop that benefits the nonprofit, and the Tod and Maxine McClaskey Family Resource Center, which opened about one year ago.
On-street parking around the shelter used to be free and unregulated until 2016. Now, there’s a mix of permit parking, paid parking that costs $1.25 hourly and 10-hour parking that Stevens said is often occupied by attorneys going to the nearby Clark County Courthouse.
“Parking is a huge issue for our staff and our volunteers right now,” Stevens said.