Standing on a 5-acre tract of wooded land, officials from Compassion United, a support ministry in Montgomery County, posed for photos with their shovels pressed slightly into the dirt.

On the sides of their bright red shovels were the words “Miracle City.”

The groundbreaking, which took place Oct. 8 at 350 Foster Drive, Conroe, marked the end of years of planning and praying and the beginning of years of construction, officials said.

When complete, Miracle City will be a grace-based, transformative community serving those experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County, providing housing, a food pantry, and life and vocational skills to up to 92 people when fully built out.

“This ministry will change their outlook on life by introducing them to Jesus Christ,” the project’s architect Tom Lancaster said.

Years in the making

The idea for the community first came to Compassion United Executive Director Luke Redus 10 years ago. Then in 2017, Redus met with his leadership team to discuss creating a master-planned community to support individuals transitioning out of homelessness, poverty and addiction.

Months later, Redus said he heard God speak the words “Miracle City” to him. This is the same term that was used to describe Conroe when George Stake struck oil in 1931 in southwest Conroe—now known as the Conroe Oil Fields—transforming the city to an oil boomtown.

“Together, we will make Conroe known as Miracle City again,” Redus said at the grand opening.

In February 2019, the city donated the 5-acre parcel to the Compassion United. Montgomery County Community Development provided a $1.2 million grant, and the organization’s long-term partners assisted with further funding.

When complete, the community will provide housing, a dining hall, a church, a food pantry, a clothes closet, and a playground to individuals and families across Montgomery County. It will initially serve 17 people but will expand to 92, and after 10 years of operation, officials said they hope to have helped 1,250 people.

Miracle City will teach life skills as well as provide vocational opportunities such as welding to its residents. The first building is expected to be completed in March.

Compassion United is still fundraising, and officials said they hope to have raised an additional $900,000 by Feb. 14