We have been planning a change in our ministry for almost 2 years. We have spoken a little about it. But we think this is the year to make the transition. Since 2009 our ministry has been located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of North St. Louis. The place had many challenges when we first moved here. It had 50%+ unemployment, high crime, serious violence and heavy drug trafficking. These factors shaped our ministry. We responded to these challenges and have had a great impact on the community.
Hyde Park is now an up and coming neighborhood with a much brighter future. When we started here we had 300 applicants for jobs at our cafe in just the first week. In the past year we have had no applicants from the neighborhood. We think we have been successful in many areas of our ministry. But now is the time for change. So here are some of the changes that are coming.
Our Narrow Gate program has helped hundreds to overcome obstacles, gain employment and get housed. We have learned a lot from our experiences. Our Community Pastoral Care Network was started in response to the pandemic. It has helped over a hundred seniors stay in their homes through our home repair program. It is time for us to transition these programs from being simply ministry operated programs to a place of helping to equip others to be more effective at these things.
Part of our transition will be to become a training and equipping ministry. Part of this will include offering training and support services to interested groups that want to service these populations. Another part will be to move the ministry to a place where can supply much bneeded resources for those who we engage in training. This is where Sozo Valley Ranch comes in.
Sozo Valley Ranch will be in a more rural setting. It will be built with training and equipping in mind. It will be home to the Farm at Sozo Valley Ranch as well as a training center. The farm will utilize permaculture techniques to grow food for our ministry, its partners and our clients. The farm will provide employment for clients as well. The Ranch will have guest cabins to accommodate on location and extended training.
We are trying to locate about 20 acres within an hour and a half of St. Louis. The entire property will be built with accessibility in mind. The cabins will meet ADA guidelines and the farm will incorporate features to allow people of all abilities to participate. The ranch will be home to the Disciple Driven Church Training Center and Incubator. We may even open a Harvest Fields Cafe.
In order to accomplish this, we must sell all of our properties in the Hyde Park neighborhood. This includes our Leadership Center, an approximately 6000 square foot house across from the park. Our original building, a 4200 square foot commercial building. And our 5 unit apartment building located between Blair and 14th street. All of these are being touched up with some getting significant repairs. We will post them on the web site as we list them. We are really looking forward to this next phase in our ministry. If you know anyone looking for property in the Hyde Park neighborhood, send them our way.