GRAPEVINE — Representatives of the nonprofit projectHandUp joined area officials Oct. 16 to break ground on a $28 million, 61-acre supportive living community for women and children who are experiencing life challenges.The Gatehouse, a projectHandUp initiative, will offer refuge through housing and participation in an Independent Life Program for up to two and a half years for women and children in crisis, supporters say. The Gatehouse, located on Stone Meyers Parkway, will offer free housing, transportation, food, education, job training, medical care, clothing, counseling and life skills mentoring. Residents will participate in faith-based programs designed for permanent life change.“We offer women a hand up, not a handout,” projectHandUp founder Lisa Rose said. “This is a living community for women where they can receive permanent healing and help for permanent change.”The facility could eventually house up to 96 families.Efforts are being directed at “victims of domestic abuse, the under-employed and those with repetitive incarceration who can’t get out of the cycle,” Rose said.The founder added that at times those women are feeling “helpless, angry, terrified, lost, alone, worthless and exhausted.“The Gatehouse will offer women compassionate relationships that foster love and dignity to support women who are ready to change their lives for the long-term,” said Rose, board president of The Gatehouse and wife of Matt Rose, chief executive at BNSF Railway. The City Council approved the project in August 2012, and The Gatehouse expects to be open next fall.City Councilwoman Darlene Freed, a supporter of the project, lauded the efforts to make it a reality, saying The Gatehouse would be “a great addition to the Grapevine community.”Total cost of the project is $28 million, which includes purchase of the land. The project is privately funded.Foundations and local companies such as Bennett Benner Pettit Architects, DR Horton and Compass Realty have offered their services and materials to move the project forward, Rose said. Texas Health Resources will be the anchor tenant in the commercial space on the property with a satellite medical clinic that will serve the public and the Gatehouse community. Bennett Benner Pettit has led the project design. Compass Realty, Frisby Enterprises and Walker Engineering will handle the acquisition and contracting process, design management and review, and project management.The Gatehouse community will include an event center available to the public.On peaceful wooded acreage, each neighborhood will be comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom units that will range in size from 1,000 square feet for a one bedroom/one bath to 1,600 square feet for a three bedroom/two bath. Units will have outdoor living space overlooking the neighborhood green with adjacent units to perpetuate development of close relationships and accountability with neighbors and staff.Centralized counseling centers positioned halfway between each pair of neighborhoods will provide a place for mentoring and counseling. Each counseling center will serve two neighborhoods (48 families) and be located in the center of the green for easy access and high visibility.Most women will arrive at The Gatehouse with nothing, Rose said. In their general store, food and new goods will be stored for the guests. A boutique will offer new clothing for the women and children entering the workforce and school.“We are expectant and excited to see many women healed and the endless cycle of abuse, poverty, homelessness and helplessness permanently reversed,” Rose said.
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367