HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Construction on a multi-million dollar facility is set to get underway in Hopewell. The city is investing in a new Human Services building and city leaders say the move will help them better serve you.
Hopewell's Department of Social Services is ranked among the worst in the state for needing new space. Not surprising to some clients who say, there's little to no privacy.
"When you go inside to talk to a social worker other people are walking around, and they can listen to everything you say," said one client.
Employees meet with clients in cubicles which are shared with other employees.
"Our problems are primarily lack of confidentiality, lack of file space, safety ADA concerns. You can hardly get a wheelchair down the hall," said Nancy Treanor, Director of Social Services.
Construction on a 3.3 million dollar Human Services building will get going this month and it could not have come at a better time according to the director.
"It's long overdue. We've just not been able to afford the atmosphere that's needed to conduct the type of business we do here," said Treanor.
More than 50 percent of all Hopewell households receive public assistance. It's a number that's expected to continue to climb. In part, because of the weak economy and the influx of soldiers and families headed to Fort Lee under the BRAC expansion.
"The entry level military families qualify for food stamps so that will increase our case load there," said Treanor.
The new facility will be more than 20,000 square feet. Right now, it's about 9,000.
Various services presently held at satellite offices will now be all under one roof. The new building is expected to open for business in February 2011.