United Way gives $1 million for construction at The Sharing Center

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Heart of Florida United Way is giving $1 million to The Sharing Center in Longwood for a facility expansion.

It’s the largest grant to a single agency in the United Way’s 83-year history.

The $1 million comes from a historic $20 million donation to the Heart of Florida United Way by author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of billionaire Jeff Bezos, in December 2020.

The money will help with construction and operating costs for a new Live United Village, a one-stop shop where homeless clients will be able to shower, get food, do laundry, meet with counselors and search for jobs as well as take job-training courses.

A reception area with offices for case managers is a key part of the new Live United Village.

The Sharing Center occupies most of a Longwood shopping plaza and services have been limited by space.

In the larger 3,600-sq.-ft. space, the organization is expected to serve double the number of homeless individuals and families — or approximately 4,118 individuals — per year.

This new space includes:

  • A state-of-the-art multi-purpose training center
  • Double the number of personal shower rooms and industrial washer and dryer sets
  • Additional space for case manager and partner offices

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