USDA to fund barn renovation at the Rose Haven Center of Healing

Pamlico Rose Institute Awarded Federal Grants to Renovate Barn and Plan Urban Farming Program for Women Veterans

Pamlico Rose Institute (PRI) announces two recent grants to support their mission to advance wellness and resilience-building programs for women Veterans. The United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA), awarded a $100,000 grant to help renovate the existing barn at Rose Haven Center of Healing into a community center. In addition, PRI received a $25,000 AmeriCorps planning grant to help prepare and build organizational capacity supporting an urban farming program for women Veterans. PRI’s programs are part of a community-based prevention strategy; both these grants offer benefits to the larger Veteran population and community members.

PRI CEO Robert Greene Sands sees the two grants dovetailing nicely with their overall mission. Said Sands, “our concept of wellness sits at the intersection of nature, creative expression, movement, and community-building. Both of these grants fold in many of these elements.”

Barn Renovation

unnamed 6 2 300x199 - USDA to fund barn renovation at the Rose Haven Center of Healing

The USDA grants will contribute $99,400 toward the estimated $180,000 renovation cost and when complete will feature a wood- working “shop”, arts and crafts space, storage for reclaimed wood and a great room for yoga, meditation, tai chi and other wellness classes.

Included in the scope of the grant  is the cost of an HVAC for the almost completed renovation of the Center’s 1892 residence. Said PRI community resource associate Kaitlyn O’Donnell, “the barn is one of critical components of the Center, along with the Haven House and the Betty Sands Memorial gardens; being able to add the HVAC to the residence provides additional benefit.” The USDA, in its outreach of the grant award, wrote that the barn renovation will provide the “perfect space to house community events and workshops including woodworking, visual arts and crafts, as well as provide space for meditative and kinetic courses such as yoga.”

To meet the cost of renovation, an additional $80,000 must be raised. A private donation of $25,000 in the name of the A.T. Gurkin Family has already been given toward this project reducing the “match” necessary to $55,000.


unnamed 18 - USDA to fund barn renovation at the Rose Haven Center of HealingProject architect Albrecht McLawhorn, President of Greenville-based Intrepid Architecture, said, “The vision of renovating the existing onsite barn into an indoor/outdoor support type space would be a valuable complement to the developing facilities…and affords the overall property with a complimentary qualitative aesthetic appeal.”

Rose Haven is located in Washington’s historic district and the property’s past association with Washington’s history is considered significant. The existing pole barn was built in 1961, replacing the original barn built in 1934, and for over four decades was the workplace of a local blacksmith. “The barn has stood strong in the face of decades of hurricanes and flooding, and with minor structural changes, will last another few decades,” said Sands. “It is the perfect metaphor for our mission. Along with the gardens and Haven House renovation, the barn will continue to add to the beauty and stability of the neighborhood.”

PRI and the USDA hosted a press event on June 10th at Rose Haven to announce the award. Rob Kerns and Kim Daniels from the USDA, staff from US Senators Tillis and Burr and US Representative Murphy, Washington City Council member Virginia Finnerty and City manager Jonathan Russell spoke and the common theme expressed by all was the need to address risk factors faced by women Veterans and the renovation of the barn provided a space and place to help build wellness and community.

PRI Wellness Corps

unnamed 19 300x287 - USDA to fund barn renovation at the Rose Haven Center of HealingPRI is developing an urban farm/community garden program for women Veterans to help mitigate risk factors of food insecurity and social isolation. The heart of the program is to bring in ten women Veterans as urban farmers and build and sustain urban farms in Pitt and Beaufort counties. The women Veteran farmers make up a Wellness Corps also helping promote a healthy lifestyle for at-risk women Veterans and their families in the community.

AmeriCorps funded PRI $25,000 to prepare program capacity and develop organizational processes to support staff and the potential of using AmeriCorps as a vehicle to build the Wellness Corps in 2022. The grant starts July 1 and extends to December 31st. “One of AmeriCorps priorities is to help military Veterans and their families transition and reintegrate,” said Sands. “The Wellness Corps concept fits well within this priority.”