The Judeo-Christian Outreach Center broke ground on Monday, May 20, 2024, on the $14 million transformation of its current location, 1053 Virginia Beach Blvd, near the oceanfront. The invitation-only event included elected officials, philanthropists, business and community leaders, and JCOC Board and capital campaign committee members. The ceremony was the symbolic start of the construction phase of the new campus.

The new campus will include:

  • 38 affordable-housing units (approx. 300 sq. ft. each), greatly expanding JCOC’s role in building a
  • bridge for the unhoused to move into permanent homes of their own.
  • A more inviting, flexible and cost-effective dining hall and safe space for those dealing with food insecurities. The complex will house the Community Dinner, Food Pantry and Food Box programs.
  • New administrative offices for JCOC’s Rapid Rehousing and supportive programs to help participants achieve self-sufficiency.

For more than 37 years, the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, or JCOC, has served as a lifeline to those who are unhoused, including our veterans, and those who are food insecure. Over the years the organization has outgrown the current facilities, yet the need for services continues to increase.

The ceremony began with an invocation from Father Ben Randall, Senior Associate Rector of Galilee Church. Galilee is one of the founding churches of JCOC and continues to be one of the strongest supporters of the mission of the organization.

State Senator Bill DeSteph, representing Virginia’s 8th district, read a letter of congratulations from Governor and Mrs. Glenn Youngkin. The governor applauded JCOC’s mission and thanked the organization for its work with unhoused residents and those who are food insecure. Read letter here.

Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer talked about the history of JCOC and how its work reflects the good and caring people of the resort city. “Clearly the JCOC is meeting a critical need for those in our oceanfront community who are suffering,” said Mayor Dyer. “They offer second chances to people in crisis. They don’t just offer a hand-out, but a hand up.”

Executive Director Todd Walker was emotional as he shared how his dream of a new campus, more than ten years in the making, is now finally a reality. “We learned during this housing development process that we have to walk to get far, because you can fall when trying to run. Our patience had to shine through because homelessness is truly a life-or-death matter for so many,” said Walker.

“I am a native Virginia Beach girl and I have always known that we are blessed to live in this great city, in a great region, filled with amazing people when it comes to helping others, but you all made it easy work of making this dream a reality,” said Allison McDuffie, Chair of the Help.Hope.Healing Capital Campaign – the most successful capital campaign in the history of JCOC. She then announced that the $150,000 Brock Challenge had been matched successfully surpassing the campaign’s  $14 million goal.

Thanks to the very generous $2 million contribution by Norfolk physician and philanthropist Dr. Paul Chidester, the new campus is named the Betty Brown Chidester Campus in memory of his wife. The main building will be named after philanthropist Joan Brock in honor of her $1 million contribution. The transformation is further supported by hundreds of other public and private donations.

Dr. Chidester shared, “After my wife’s death in September 2021, I wanted to highlight the life she lived; one of serving others and a desire to know and follow the will of our Lord.  When I learned of the plans to build a new campus for JCOC , I felt that a contribution to support this organization would be a perfect way to remember Betty.”

Following closing remarks by Steve Bleile, Director of Project Development with the Virginia Development Community Corporation (VCDC), speakers, elected officials and JCOC leadership joined together and “turned the dirt”, symbolizing the beginning of construction.  Photographs of the event are available.

The new buildings will be constructed by Hoy Construction and should be completed by the end of 2025. Construction is set to begin this summer.