Homeless shelter set to open soon in Jasper
by Rachel Davis
Feb 26, 2012 | 2878 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Workers help put the finishing touches on a shelter being opened soon by the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless. An open house will be held Tuesday evening. Photo by: Rachel Davis
Workers help put the finishing touches on a shelter being opened soon by the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless. An open house will be held Tuesday evening. Photo by: Rachel Davis
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For a number of years, there has been talk about building some sort of shelter to help the homeless people of Walker County, but within the next few months that will be a reality, thanks to the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless.

The group has remodeled a former assisted-living facility on Blackwell Dairy Road into a beautiful, clean, safe refuge for those who need it.

“We did the roof, we did the sheetrock, we put in new lighting, we tore out the kitchen, we put in new flooring, we did new plumbing and electrical, everything has been reworked,” Gay Russell, one of the board members for the coalition, said. “It’s a whole new facility. New paint and a whole new face on it.”

The facility features a common area, a computer room with reading and job-hunting resources, a laundry room, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a playroom for children and 14 bedrooms. One hallway, leading to the playroom, houses six families of up to four people and features a full-size bed and a set of bunk beds. The other hallway houses 16 people in eight rooms. Each room also has a private bathroom.

The work for the remodeling was volunteer and the materials were donated, making the center, called Haven of Hope, a real community effort.

“Everything has been donated, from individuals, from churches, from businesses,” Russell said. “God has provided everything, he’s sent people, everything that’s been donated, he’s just sent people to do this. Almost every business in town has given something.”

“It’s the first transitional housing facility in Walker County,” Russell said. “A lot of the people from the tornado back in 2011, are still displaced. We are going to try to work with those people, let them come here for six months, until we can get them help to either get a home or provide housing location. There are several housing organizations.”

The center will focus on giving people a stable place to get on their feet, find a job and find a new, permanent housing option.

“It helps offer a stable transition and hope for these people,” Russell explained.

The group still needs money, of course, but also has a great need for more volunteers to help with the various duties, now and when the shelter opens in a month or so.

“Our operating funds come from churchs, groups and individual contributions, as well as grants,” Russell said. “And we always need more volunteers.”

Although the facility won’t be open until March or April, the public can get a sneak peek at the open house on Tuesday night, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Haven of Hope location at 500 Blackwell Dairy Road in Jasper.