Today marks the first official day for the New Hope Community Center. But the facility, and the services it provides to the homeless in Lansing, goes back decades.
“This facility has been here for many, many years and it is a hub for many of the homeless since the nineties, when the city needed a day shelter for the homeless,” HCS Community Services director Sharon Dade said. “This facility has been here. So it’s a place where the homeless know where to come to get services.”
It started out as Lansing’s Volunteers for America facility in 1948. But after years of service, the shelter was in financial trouble and in danger of closing until recently. That’s when Holy Cross Services, a local nonprofit, agreed to step in and take over.
“It’s emotional,” HCS Lansing Committee Board Chair Kevin McGraw said. “People don’t understand how close we came to having to close the shelter, the kitchen, the job-seeking things that we do, the medical clinic, the dental clinic, the legal clinic.”
Under Holy Cross’ management, the shelter will be able to continue offering housing, access to medical care and other services to Lansing’s homeless population. They also want to add more resources for specific groups, including people suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse. Above all, Dade says their mission is still clear.
“We want to make sure that the most vulnerable in our community is served as well as everyone else.”