East Texas women’s shelter at capacity during heat, in need of donations

House of Hope shelter needs help to care for women, children

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The relentless August heat has had East Texas shelters filled over capacity, and one women’s shelter has experienced the same problem.

The House of Hope women’s shelter in Longview is running well over capacity, as women who are homeless, sometimes with their children, are seeking relief from the heat.

With only 21 beds in the facility, the shelter is sleeping around 38 women each night, the overflow sleeping on air-mattresses on the floor.

"When we have overflow, we have to have cots and air-mattresses on the floor," says shelter director Helen Johnson.

Many have come in recently like Amanda Soape, who were living in wooded areas in tents before now.

"Just for like a week I was living in a tent. It got too hot. That was probably the toughest part," Soape says.

"They're still out there in their tents. They have to have fresh water, they have to have clean clothes," Johnson says.

And it’s not just the women, as many times they come with their children.

For 14 years Johnson has done her best to help every woman who comes through the doors.

“We’ve seen over 15,000 women, can’t tell you how many high school graduates, or newborn babies that we’ve brought home in the last three years,” she says.

Getting no funding from any other shelters, it's put a strain on the little shelters resources, and everything is running low.

“Fresh bottled water is one thing we need. Laundry supplies, bread, fresh eggs, milk and cereal. Diapers. Little snacks for toddlers. We are not associated with Hi-way 80 or any other shelter. We absolutely depend on the community to take care of us,” Helen says.

They must have help, so that they can help the women who need it.

"We have to have the financial resources to stay alive. We need them now,' says Helen.

Johnson says the age ranges of the women staying at the shelter run from a teenager still going to high school, to a 72-year-old resident.

To learn more about donating or other info, call 903-295-0904. Visit their Facebook page here.

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