The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 22, 2001

Trades, contractors are final piece in the puzzle to build expanded shelter

By The Building Tradesman

LACASA of Livingston County, a haven for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse, will have more room to do its good work, thanks in part to the timely generosity of building trades unions, contractors, and contractor associations.

On June 13, LACASA staff accepted a $20,000 check from union leaders and contractor association reps toward construction of an expanded shelter, which will place all the haven's operations under one roof. Deborah Felder-Smith, LACASA's executive director, said the current shelter is in a 150-year-old historic home that doesn't provide sufficient room or privacy for guests and has inadequate security.

"The demand for our services over the last three years is up 75 percent," Felder-Smith said, "and our users cross all of society and economic lines. It's vital that we expand our operations, and this $20,000 came at the right time and helps us tremendously."

The $20,000 contribution came at a critical time for LACASA. Felder-Smith said the money came just in time for the haven to meet a fundraising deadline in order to get a $400,000 grant. As a result, LACASA's total goal of $2.1 million has been met, and construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

"We operate under the slogan, 'good for you, good for your family, good for your community,'" said IBEW Local 58 Business Manager Jeff Radjewski, "and we donated to this project because they obviously do a lot of good in the community."

Added IBEW Local 252 Business Manager Greg Stephens: "We helped out because we have members who live in Livingston County, and we feel it's a good thing and we're happy to be a part of it."

The expanded facility will be built off the rear of LACASA's existing administrative offices in Howell. MBM Fabricators and Erectors, which employs Iron Workers Local 25 members, is donating steel for the project. The Greater Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association and the National Electrical Contractors Association-Michigan Chapter also contributed money.

PMCA Executive Associate Diane Calmeyn said she and PMCA President Sandra Miller have done volunteer work at the shelter for a number of years. "This is something that is very close to our hearts," she said.

National Electrical Contractors Association-Michigan Chapter Executive Director Mike Crawford said the chapter's contribution to the project "shows how much we value and support community involvement."

UNIONS AND CONTRACTORS helped put the final piece of funding together for the expanded LACASA shelter in Livingston County. The big check that won't cash representing a $20,000 donation was presented to Deborah Felder-Smith, left, by (l-r) IBEW Local 58 Business Manager Jeff Radjewski, IBEW Local 252 Business Manager Greg Stephens, IBEW Local 665 Business Manager Bill Patrick, NECA Michigan Chapter Executive Director Mike Crawford, and PMCA Executive Associate Diane Calmeyn.