The Lazarus Project

Gregg Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME)  Church (GCAMEC)  in conjunction with Third Chance, Inc. is building six, one bedroom, fully furnished  apartments for homeless veterans in Fort Walton Beach, FL, in 2018 for approximately $500,000.  The project, which has been named  The Lazarus Project, is seeking donations from the public to help finance the project which includes demolition of existing houses on the property,  infrastructure, building construction and landscaping. Land currently owned by the church on 19 Nicholson Street will be used for the one level, garden style apartment complex. The Lazarus Project will go further than housing, The Veteran's Court, Career Services, Homelessness & Housing Alliance and Bridgeway Center, Inc., along with other community partners are joining together to provide the veterans with clothing, counseling, job opportunities and other supportive services in order to provide a holistic approach to address veteran homlessness in our community. 

"The veterans of the United States have sacrified much for our country and although we could never repay them for their service and their sacrifice these housing units will represent a small token of our appreciation. Although veterans were not always welcomed when they returned home, the Gregg Chapel AME Church family plans on extending their arms of love and compassion to the homeless veterans. We feel as if we are doing our part to help those in need in return for them helping our nation, when we were in need. When our nation was in crisis and called upon to help resolve wars and conflicts at home and around the world they answered the call and now we are answering the call to serve them as they have served us and our great nation. Our Biblical call to service requires us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and house the homeless in accordance with Isaiah 58:7 amongst other things and by building these apartments for homeless veterans that is exactly what we are doing." says Rev. Williams.

While no one solution can address the full spectrum of problems posed by homelessness, it appears as if permanent housing brings about a much needed stabilizing factor in homeless people's lives. Many things which we take for granted such as a roof over our head, a place to feel safe and secure, privacy, a place to take a shower, access to clean running water and having a place to call home; many homeless veterans do not have and are faced with the cold, hard reality of not having these options or a place to call home. So often especially when it is either raining or cold we think about what it would be like to be out on the streets in inclement weather and have always wanted to do something to provide a permanent solution for this segment of our community who have served us and our country in ways we cannot comprehend. 

This project supports our efforts to accomplish this mission by helping us to extend a hand of hope and healing to the veterans of our community by saying Welcome Home.

Update: December 2017: GCAMEC and Third Chance, Inc. are proud to present the following update on the Lazarus Project: 

1. Two homes on the property has been demolished to make room for the six one apartments. 

2. Tree removal and site preparation has been completed.

3. A building ocntractor has been selected.
4.  Community partners have been identified and 

5.  A groundbreaking ceremony was held on 12/16/2017. 

For more information about Third Chance, Inc., please go to

Thank you to all who have already donated to this worthwhile cause and we look forward to partnering with those who seek to support our efforts through financial donations, services and in-kind donations. 

Stay tuned for future updates!

Organizer and beneficiary

Valerie Houston
Fort Walton Beach, FL
Jannie Smith

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