Future bleak for House of Hope

Posted by Janis Demarest - email
By Sara Story - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Dozens of homeless women and teen girls find shelter in the House of Hope in Longview, but they must vacate by the end of the week. The rescue mission is not in compliance with city code, and a missed deadline is forcing them to take drastic action.

In 72 hours , all of the women living at the House of Hope must re-locate. "They are already displaced. They are already homeless, and when they come to the House of Hope, they are home," said Sister Helen Johnson, the director of House of Hope.

This shelter violates city code. There are only two bathrooms and no fire sprinkler system. At times, more than 60 women live at the mission. Johnson said, "It's cozy, you know. The girls don't fuss. They don't fight. Some snore. Some wear ear plugs."

Johnson says House of Hope has been working with the City of Longview and the Longview Fire Department to correct the problems, but she admits to missing a crucial deadline. "We had to have a sprinkler company in place by last Friday, and we didn't have that. We are still talking to different sprinkler companies to get the best price, because money is definitely an issue," said Johnson.

The Longview Fire Department notified Johnson of the missed deadline. "We can't turn our head to known safety concerns in our community," said Johnny Zackary with the fire department. He added, "Our goal has not to shut down this facility. We have worked with her time and time again, and we are thankful that they are going to move forward and make this a compliant and safe facility."

Friday, the women will move out, and if there's enough funding, installation of the fire protection system will begin.

Nearby rescue missions are opening their doors. "We're available, and we're ready, and we've made it known that we're ready, and our staff is all prepared to intake women and women with children as needed," said Eric Burger, the Executive Director of Highway 80 Rescue Mission's Hope Haven.

Johnson hopes it won't be long before The House of Hope is operating again. She says they are $15,000 short of their $55,000 goal. They are asking for building supplies and monetary donations. You can stop by the mission, located on Highway 80 in Longview. A fund has also been set up at White Oak State Bank in Longview.

If you want to make a donation to the House of Hope, click here.

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