Here's how to help flip the Hazelwood prison

Pennington work day yet to be scheduled
By Vicki Hyatt | Aug 05, 2014

Now that the Haywood Pathways Project has won the $50,000 grand prize in the Guaranteed Rate/Ty Pennington Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge, scores of people in the community are wondering how they can help.

No date has yet been set for the Pennington work day, but plans are on the drawing board to ensure all in the community who want to play a role in the project have an opportunity to do so.

Pennington — best known for his Extreme Makeover television series  — will be hosting a new series “On the Menu” on TNT this fall where he will join chef Emeril Lagasse to create signature dishes for American food businesses, according to the publication, “Variety.” The television celebrity is a national spokesperson for Guaranteed Rate.

No date has been set for Pennington and his crew to spend a day working on the Haywood project that took top honors in a contest featuring more than 300 project ideas submitted from 49 different states, said Shawn Malayter, vice president of public relations for Guaranteed Rate.

“This will be our inaugural event,” Malayter said of the first neighborhood giveback challenge sponsored by the company. “We were blown away by all the great projects that came in from across the country. Obviously the Haywood project best met all the criteria.”

Judges included an internal team from Guaranteed Rate, as well as members from Pennington’s team. Details will be announced once a project date is set. Even though Pennington is a television personality, the Haywood effort to convert the shuttered state prison into a homeless shelter, halfway house and soup kitchen won’t be filmed for national television, Malayter said.

Given the success of the first Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge, Malayter said he is certain the company will sponsor the event again next year.

Founded in 2000, Guaranteed Rate has grown very rapidly, and is now one of the 10 largest retail lenders in the country, Malayter said. Founder,  Victor Ciardelli, vowed early on “to not just be a good mortgage company, but to be a mortgage company that does good,” Malayter said. A foundation was set up that started helping with projects in the Chicago area, but took the effort nationwide after teaming up with Pennington.

“Given Ty’s history with Extreme Makeover and giving back to the community, this seemed to be the best way to do that,” Malayter said of the Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge.


The project

During a Haywood Helps board meeting Tuesday, it was decided a website will be set up where individuals can offer to volunteer, donate to the project or commit to providing items or supplies that will be needed for the center to open.

The central website will hopefully be up and running within a week, said Nick Honerkamp, who has helped spearhead the project as chairman of the Haywood Christian Emergency Shelter.

While there may not be an opportunity for everyone who wants to volunteer for the renovation project to do so, the board expressed a commitment to finding a way for all interested in the project to help in some way.

So far, there $90,000 in available cash is on hand or has been raised for the project. Another $115,000 which includes the Guaranteed Rate award, has been promised.

However, early projections show that up to $500,000 will be needed to complete all phases of the project, so funds are still needed, Honerkamp said.

That amount includes site design, material, labor, furniture, kitchen equipment and other supplies needed for opening. The project is being designed in three phases with the homeless shelter and kitchen completion work targeted for completion by Nov. 1, the traditional shelter opening date.

The second phase is the completion of the halfwayhouse, campus laundry facility and renovation of an on-campus apartment to serve as a temporary emergency family shelter. The final phase involves exterior work such as paving the parking area, landscaping and fencing.

Honerkamp estimates the work day will be between mid-September and mid-October, which will allow time for project organizers to secure the necessary permits to start on the project.

Immediate ways to help include sending donations earmarked for Haywood Helps to Mountain Projects, 2251 Old Balsam Road, Waynesville, NC 28786, or purchasing a ticket to the Haywood Helps fundraising gala set for Thursday, Aug. 28. Tickets are $100 each and can be picked up at The Mountaineer, 220 N. Main St. in Waynesville weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.