Center of Hope to Provide Permanent Shelter for Homeless
They have recently raised $3.3 million needed for construction of a facility that would be open 24/7. Homeless families and single men and women in Gulfport would be able to stay in the Center of Hope facility for up to two years. Laura Bianco, Public Relations Director for the Salvation Army, says, "We want someone to have a place to call home rather than a tent or a street. We want them to have a roof over their head and somewhere where they can be warm and comfy all of the time."
More than just a shelter, the homeless will be able to come to the Center of Hope for counseling services, to learn job skills, and find help for drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions. Bianco also says, "Before Hurricane Katrina, we had something similar to it and so we have been really working hard to raise the money and get the permits done for two years now."
Center of Hope, a 28,500 square foot structure, is set to be built on 24th Street. Stacy Crandle of the Salvation Army says, "We want to provide them a nice, safe, and sustainable place to stay while we’re giving them the services they need to put them back into society and be people that can contribute to society as well as upstanding citizens."
The Center of Hope will contact each resident after they leave the program to determine the long-term effectiveness of the shelter experience. Construction is expected to start within the year. The Center of Hope will be located at the same location where the Salvation Army began providing services to the Gulfport community back in 1926.