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Jan 09, 2017 | Paulette E. Martin

St. Dunstan’s Partners with Community to Open Hope Center for Homeless in NW Houston

Tarreon R. Murray, a homeless man in the Cypress Creek Parkway area of Houston has a polished resume and is eager to start working as a machine operator. He has been sober for four months and is ready to turn his life around.

Thanks to 1960 Hope Center, Murray, along with hundreds of other homeless men and women, have found new hope for their futures.

“If you want to stay sober and you want to better yourself, you have to take some initiative, put the Lord first and he’ll provide everything else for you,” Murray said.

He said he is grateful for the services and the help he has received through Hope Center, which has helped to provide an incentive for him to stop drinking.

“If they smell alcohol, they will escort you out of the building,” Murray said.

Suffragan Bishop Jeff Fisher dedicated the ministry, established with the initiative of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, on Friday, January 6.

“Parishioners from St. Dunstan’s were interested in doing outreach,” Bishop Fisher said in his remarks at the celebration of new ministry. “I told them, ‘Just walk outside your church and open your eyes open and the Holy Spirit will tell you what to do from there.’ And that’s what happened here,” he added.

The Hope Center, opened in August 2016, provides the basic humanitarian needs in a Christian environment such as restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, shelter, clothing and food.

Without an address, clean clothes, or access to identification cards or shower facilities, homelessness can quickly bring hopelessness. That is why Hope Center takes a holistic approach to helping those who face these particular challenges. They also provide information and referral counseling, mentoring, prayer, support and recovery groups, computer access, Bible studies and more.

The idea of the Hope Center grew after the Rev. Rob Price, rector at St. Dunstan’s, called his congregation together for a day of visioning. The task was to seek God and discern His call upon the church in terms of ministry to the community. The task group was concerned about the growing homeless community in the area.

After studying the needs and resources that already existed, the task group found out that there were more than 500 homeless people living between SH-49 and I-45.

              Tarreon R. Murray feeling optimistic about his future.

“When we allow ourselves to see people as persons, not as things or problems or challenges, it changes our lives and therefore we see Jesus,” Price said.

Hope Center receives financial support from St. Dunstan’s and a grant from the Great Commission Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, said Debbie Johnson, president of the Center’s board of directors.

“The long term goal is to have a place that we own where we could put tiny houses and trailers, and have a self-sufficient community who are working toward being healthy in all ways while we provide them with a place to live long term,” Johnson said.  

According to Robert Butler, executive director of the Center, mental health issues are the number one challenge faced by this population.

“They need medication and to stay on their medication. Others are tempted into fall into drugs and alcohol,” Butler explained.

Both Johnson and Butler hope more funding for the Center will allow them to open a health clinic and provide onsite medical and psychiatric needs.   

As to Murray, he is delighted to find so much positivity with the entire staff of Hope Center and feels blessed to have access to the facility.

“By being here I can better look for a job, I can go online and apply my resume to a lot of staffing agencies. I can’t wait to get back on my feet,” Murray said.

The center is open from 9 am-3 pm. The 1960 Hope Center is located at 744 FM 1960 W., Houston, Ste. B. For more information or to volunteer call 832.965.5511 or visit www.1960hopecenter.com.

 

 

 

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