Women need shelter as House of Hope renovates

By Sara Story - bio | email

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - It's a mission that's provided shelter to dozens of homeless women in East Texas. The House of Hope in Longview is forced to temporarily close it's doors. Friday, nearly thirty female residents packed their belongings and said goodbye.

The shelter is vacating the building until it can be brought back up to city code, but as they try to keep the women off the streets, there are still some residents with no place to go.

They packed up their belongings and hauled everything they own to the curb. Women, who have been on the street before and now call the House of Hope home, must find new places to stay. "We've got about ten ladies that don't have a place to stay yet, and we need the community to rise up. We need someone to come in here and say, 'I will take one. I will take one until the sprinkler system is put up,'" said Shay Caffey, a House of Hope volunteer.

A fire sprinkler system is one addition the shelter must make to meet city safety codes. New bathrooms and kitchen renovations are also in the works. The Longview Fire Department and city say they're working with the mission to make a safer environment for female residents.

"We are not here today to close this facility. Sister Helen approached us and said she would like to vacate it until it is brought up the code," said Johnny Zackary with the Longview Fire Department.

Sister Johson, the director of the House of Hope, promised the women would be out by Friday morning. The empty beds serve as a reminder of the work ahead and the help she needs from the community. "This is going to be God's extreme makeover. The community is going to rally around us," said Johnson.

"We need everyone in the community to keep giving as they have already done. With God's help, this shelter will stay open," said Richard Parker, a plumber who is donating his services.

The residents say they're leaning on faith and each other to bring them back to the place they call home.

The House of Hope says they are $10,000 shy of reaching their $55,000 goal. They are in desperate need of toilet petitions and flooring. If you would like to donate, you can stop by The House of Hope on Highway 80 in Longview. A fund has also been set up at White Oak State Bank in Longview.

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