ETX homeless outreach program almost open - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

ETX homeless outreach program almost open


A new guidance facility for homeless in Tyler is just weeks away from opening its doors.

It's called "Gateway to Hope" and will offer services to homeless to help them get back on their feet.

It's difficult to picture now, but Gateway to Hope volunteers have a vision to help homeless. General manager Jimmy Criswell says it's been on his heart for some time.

"There's really no place for them to go, to get a bath, maybe a haircut, to wash their clothes," he said.

Volunteers installed plumbing, so they have a place to privately shower. The facility will also have a barber shop and laundry services.

Pat Mallory is the center's executive director. She began running an outreach program out of her church office.

"I was trying to meet all the needs we are meeting here out of my office and that's when I became so aware that they need someplace to go and get the held they need," said Mallory.

Mallory says they'll receive a photo ID card and even have a mailbox, so they have an address.

"Everybody wants them to get a job, but you can't get a job if you don't have an address and you can't have an address if you don't have a job," she said.

The idea is to give them services to get them back on their feet. Beyond that, volunteers want to give them hope.

"When people come in, I want them to meet a friendly face," said Criswell. "I want them to meet someone who is friendly and compassionate and sympathetic for what they're in the middle of."

He hopes when finished, it will be a gateway to a better life.

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