After being closed for a year, Hospitality House in Rockport has reopened its doors to area homeless.
Now operated by the Knox County Housing Coalition, the revamped shelter takes a more holistic approach to tackling homelessness.
When you think of midcoast towns like Rockport, homelessness probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
“It’s invisible. Most people aren’t aware of it unless they have a family member,” said Anne Beebe-Center, chair of the Knox County Housing Coalition.
That’s where the newly reopened Hospitality House comes in.
Local churches contributed food, businesses donated furniture and appliances, and individuals gave their time and manpower to help complete the revamp.
Hospitality house offers people not just a bed for the night, but a path forward out of the cycle of homelessness.
“Really wrap around the resources and integrate them into the community and help them to be self-sustainable in their own homes,” said Beebe-Center.
People like Tyler Philbrook and Lorissa Pedreira.
“We have two children. We were living in a camper out in the woods,” said Philbrook.
Now they have a roof over their heads and a support system.
“They will help you do a budget form and help you budget your money, if they have classes that they want you to take they sign you up for it,” said Pedreira.
Hospitality House offers services such as job training, a GED program, there’s even an in-house resource room for residents.
“They’ll have assignments researching anything from the benefits they might need, to employment opportunities through the career center, so they’ll have access to the computers so they can do that,” said Stephanie Primm, executive director for Hospitality House.
The idea is to make a long term investment in homelessness, rather than a short term band-aid.
“An investment in programs to help people in the cycle of homelessness in their lives-that investment costs state government, federal government or even communities less to support that way. It costs more just offering a bed for the night,” said Deborah Turcotte, public information manager for Maine Housing.
Hospitality House is right now below capacity due to a lack of funding, but the hope is with new grants and donations they will be able to help more and more people build a new life.