Much like the community it serves, the small former church building housing the Henderson County Homeless Ministry is tucked away and mostly out of sight.
“It’s not like urban homelessness, where you think of people on street corners,” said HCHM Executive Director Teri Caswell. “In rural homelessness, people tend to hide and have a place in the woods, even here in town. And then there are a lot of couch-surfers, including students, who just move from place to place with people who will let them stay.”
With some hard work and generous help to get the building into shape, Caswell and a small band of volunteers have created a resource intended to help people get back on their feet. Clients can access the internet for job searches or contacting family members, take a shower and do laundry during business hours at the facility.
“It’s just about anything that family would do for people if that was available, but these people don’t have that support,” Caswell said. “Many of them have lost their identification, and that can be a long process, which also costs money—but they need that to move forward.”
The ministry celebrates its first year of operation this month, but already the model is showing success and expanding.
“We were talking about how to get people here from other parts of the county, and the need really is all over the county, including students,” Caswell said. “Within days of that conversation, Caney Creek Baptist Church in Caney City called and said they want to do what we are doing. They are helping the community with some of the same services and meeting needs there.”
For more information visit hendersoncountyhomeless.com.
Other recent TVEC Operation Round Up™ grant recipients include:
The Genesis Center-Kaufman, $5,000
Kaufman County Crime Stoppers, $1,000
Malakoff Education Foundation, $3,000