Stephen Thomas, executive director of the Salvation Army of Denton County, talks about its mission and a proposed new campus during a luncheon Thursday at its facility.

This story has been updated to reflect the status of the land transfer.

Denton Bible Church will deed the Salvation Army 14 acres next to the Shiloh Community Gardens to build the new Denton Social Services Center.

The project has been in the works for about 10 months, and the land agreement was settled a few weeks ago with a memorandum of understanding, said Stephen Thomas, executive director for the Salvation Army in Denton County.

Now, the Salvation Army is working to start a capital campaign to the fund the project’s first phase, which will cost an estimated $7.9 million, he said.

“If you gave me $7.9 million right now, it would be nine to 12 months to build,” Thomas said. “We have the plans on the property, we started the environmental studies and all the things we need to do to get moving.”

The land transfer was announced during the “Behind the Red Shield” event Thursday, where community members learned about the Salvation Army’s future plans and were able to tour its emergency night shelter.

The plans for the facility outline a 36,000-square-foot campus that has long-term and short-term housing, social services ranging from financial literacy courses to addiction recovery resources.


Lt. Linda Choi, middle, who heads the Salvation Army in Denton, gives a tour Thursday of its emergency night shelter at its facility at 1508 E. McKinney St.

The first phase of the project is set to include the social services center and a 50-unit transitional shelter. The shelter will have individual rooms for clients, and allow them to stay for up to a year.

The second phase, set to cost $8 million, would add more supportive housing units and is further down the timeline.

Lt. Linda Choi, who heads the Salvation Army in Denton, said the first phase of the project will be able to help clients make long-term plans instead of only being able to provide emergency shelter.

“Right now, we only have a short-term plan for a solution to homelessness, but we realize that’s not enough for the clients to get to change and get a new life,” she said. “We’re a small facility so we can’t have long-term plans. But in our new facility, including the family center, we can build long-term plans out two or three years ... . That’s the goal and the motivation of the Salvation Army.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @jennafduncan.

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