By Chanda Kumar
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
The former Light House Shelter of Annapolis is currently under construction to become a restaurant and culinary training center for homeless people, according to a press release from the nonprofit.
Located at 206 West St., the existing structure will be transformed into a bistro seating 50 patrons at a time. Cho Benn Holback and Associates will be managing the renovations of the location.
The nonprofit was acknowledged by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation in early November as a Neighborhood Builder, according to Nicole Nastacie, a spokesperson for Bank of America. Now a partner in this project, Bank of America presented Light House with a $200,000 flexible funding check for its contributions to the local homeless community.
Additional funding for the construction is coming from public and private donations. Bank of America’s Neighborhood Builders Program will also provide continued support.
Light House started the Building Employment Success Training (B.E.S.T.) program in 2011, which offers employment training and job search assistance with the help of local employers.
Through this program, residents at Light House will learn about customer and catering services. Graduates from the training program will continue on to work in the bistro.
Linda Vogler, the executive chef at Light House, aims for a homey and comfortable environment.
“One of its main features will be an open kitchen so visitors can watch the food preparation,” Vogler said.
According to Vogler, 20 jobs will be available based on the different meal time shifts. All of these positions will be filled by graduates from the B.E.S.T. program under Light House management.
Another feature of the restaurant will include a coffee bar. Guest chefs will also occasionally visit to assist in the training program.
Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides, among many others, attended a ceremony to break ground at the shelter in early November.
“This transitional training program will be a great asset to the community,” Pantelides said.
Another Light House shelter continues to operate on Hudson Street in Annapolis. The 24,000-square-foot location can house 30 men, 15 women and five families with up to 20 children, altogether.
The new Light House bistro and training center is planning to open next summer.