New Bethany, a local nonprofit organization, recently announced its newly established facilities team. Comprised of seasoned professionals with a variety of backgrounds and expertise, this team embodies New Bethany’s unwavering commitment to setting the highest standards in housing and community support.
The facilities team comprises New Bethany’s Facilities Director, Bill Lohr, alongside four facilities assistants: James Lakanal, Luke Diehl, Chris Kau and Chris Busch. Each member of this dynamic team brings a unique set of skills, ranging from property and project management to general handyman work, fitness, education, and assembly work.
“We believe that by investing in the quality and sustainability of our facilities, we are investing in the futures of the individuals and families we serve,” said New Bethany’s Executive Director Marc Rittle. “With this team in place, we are better equipped than ever to continue our mission of empowering lives and building a stronger, more compassionate community.”
Working in close collaboration with New Bethany’s Residential Services Director Lupita Bonilla, the facilities team plays a pivotal role in efficiently managing and maintaining 11 facilities throughout the organization, which include Coplay and South Bethlehem Single Room Occupancy (SRO) sites, Grace House in Allentown, the Transitional Housing Facility, and the Wyandotte Street Apartments.
Over the past year, the growing facilities team has spearheaded numerous projects to enhance the quality of life for New Bethany’s clients and residents. These achievements include the remodeling and reopening of the Southside Drop-in Center, relocating the Trinity Soup Kitchen on Bethlehem’s Northside, and converting the Bishop’s office into an apartment for live-in volunteers.
The team has also embarked on an ambitious renovation project for the Bethlehem SRO facility, upgrading floorplans, modernizing paint schemes, and renovating units. It has undertaken comprehensive technology overhauls to provide free Wi-Fi to soup kitchen guests, residents and food pantry users. The team recently began a renovation campaign in multiple apartments in the Wyandotte location, including new kitchens, bathrooms and flooring, modern lighting fixtures, and window and door restoration to meet historic requirements.
“What people may not realize is we have close relationships with many of our residents and clients, which helps us stay tuned into the ever-changing needs of the people we serve,” said Lohr. “We truly care about our community here, so we also approach our work with an open mind and a smile.”
New Bethany’s facilities team is dedicated to maintaining the physical aspects of its facilities and actively engages in community outreach and volunteer projects. The team works closely with Development Director Tim Burke to manage volunteer groups and assist in various community-oriented initiatives, like rebuilding the community garden, remodeling projects, repairs, and organizing paint and cleanup projects.
The goals of the facilities team include continuous modernization of its facilities, working on future New Bethany capital projects, and the remodeling of the Choice Food Pantry.