Homeless shelter prepares to close

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Homeless shelter prepares to close

In less than 30 days, the 45-60 people that regularly spend their nights at the Hope Community Center will have to find another place to crash: Their beleaguered shelter will fold. Three roller-coaster weeks have left their caretakers, Pastor Harold Bare and his son, Josh, bereft and beaten but still determined to help their “clients.”

Now they must work with the various homeless agencies in town—PACEM, ASG, Region Ten and the Salvation Army—to help out, however they can. “One of the best things that could happen here for the whole community would be to see a concerted effort of agencies and individuals to take care of these 60 or so people over the next 30 days,” Pastor Bare says.


“One of the best things that could happen here for the whole community would be to see a concerted effort of agencies and individuals to take care of these 60 or so people over the next 30 days,” says Pastor Harold Bare.

 

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“We go through this process every year,” says Dave Norris, PACEM’s executive director (and the city mayor), who has proposed a similar “triage” of services to attend to Hope’s homeless.

The city has also chipped in, agreeing to waive the $2,000 in application fees to file zoning amendments that would allow Hope to remain open through May (as approved in their April 17 BZA meeting). As Pastor Bare has stated on numerous occasions—including at a press conference on April 30—Hope’s funds have dwindled to the point that it could negatively affect the center’s daytime activities, such as after school activities for local students. “We need help,” he said as cameras whirred and snapped.

Another potential month as a shelter will also depend on the cooperation of the center’s neighbors, some of whom appeared at Region Ten on April 29 to express their outrage about the center and at the city for letting it remain open. Property values, racial concerns and homeless stereotypes spurred the 10th & Page neighborhood to complain about its omission from the discussion of the shelter’s existence. There to take the brunt of it, Pastor Bare apologized and pleaded for leniency.

Meanwhile, Hope has had to meet a May 2 deadline set by a city building official a week earlier requiring them to adhere to heightened fire code standards. Most significant is the reduction in their maximum guest occupant load to only 20 per building. Hope has sheltered more than 30 men on a regular basis for months and will have to turn at least 10 away initially (women and a few children occupy another building). “We can still bring them in and feed them,” says Bare, explaining that they will do what they can to find the excess men a place to stay.

Already, the pastor has raised a little money, including some provided by the UVA student group T-Rock in the form of the Bubble Brigade, an event organized on Grounds on April 29. At 5pm, a square machine on the concrete stage began to issue bubbles, as girls sold bottles of them provided free-of-charge by Target. Students could also sign up for a raffle, with all proceeds going to Hope and its homeless.

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