The Homeless Coalition of the Gulf Coast has expressed interest in a 43-acre former storage site on Hamilton Boulevard in Theodore, according to an official with the General Services Administration.
Dan Williams, the coalition's executive director, said that the coalition's board of directors requested an application to purchase the property. If the coalition is able to buy the property, it could be used as a job training work site or a salvage operation employing the homeless and the unemployed, Williams said.
It will be the first of its kind here, he said.
According to GSA, the land was formerly used by the Defense Logistics Agency as storage ground for bauxite ore, used in the production of aluminum, said Gary Mote, a spokesman for the GSA office in Atlanta.
Mote said federal officials will not release the price of the land until a new appraisal has been made. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will have to approve the coalition's purchase of the land, since it will used for homeless assistance, he said.
Aug. 5 is the deadline for coalition officials to submit the application.
GSA officials said two other parties had shown interest in the property: Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, on behalf of the Alabama State Port Authority, and the U.S. Coast Guard, which had expressed some preliminary interest. Neither entity is considering the property any longer, GSA officials say.
The move to develop a work site comes at a time when the Chronic Homeless Task Force has been formed to eliminate the homeless problem in Mo bile and Baldwin counties.
A study done by the homeless coalition found 350 homeless people in the two counties: 186 men, 101 women and 63 minors. Thirty-eight were considered chronic homeless. The coalition also found that 75 percent of the homeless here are native to the area.
Although the coalition's board of directors isn't expected to decide on the application until late June, a future work site could dovetail into the homeless task force's plan to significantly reduce homelessness in this area, said Greg Welsh, the coalition's board chairman.
"Certainly, it's a related issue, and the application has to deal with that, Welsh said. It would be impossible to tell (at this point), but I wouldn't be surprised.