Prison chaplain opens homeless day shelter

From The Columbus Dispatch:

Unlike traditional homeless shelters, which typically open in the evenings, the Hope Center is a place for homeless and low-income residents to come during the day.

“It’s filling a void,” Hayes said. “A few centers out there are doing a good job as night centers, but they have limited resources, too.”

The Hope Center is overseen by the Licking County Jail Ministries and is rooted in the biblical teaching of bearing another person’s burdens. It’s a natural relationship, Hayes said, because more than half of the homeless population in Newark are former inmates.

Like the jail ministries though, the center is open to all regardless of religious belief, and visitors aren’t pressured to convert, Hayes said.

The Hope Center is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Guests are served a hot meal, can take a shower and have their laundry done during that time.

Free wireless internet, charging stations for cellphones and spaces to read and watch TV are available. An alcove at the front of the building allows guests to bring their dogs. Evening programs, such as addiction recovery and social events, are in the works.

Hayes said he wants the center to be a place where people feel at home, even if it’s just for a few hours.

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch.