According to Morgan, the first phase of the project opened this week and is expected to house only women and their children. The secure facility includes six furnished bedrooms, kitchen and storage space, classroom areas, indoor and outdoor living areas, and a prayer path through the woods.
Following a year-long period when Love INC staffers can get a handle on operating the facility, they will begin to move into the other phases of the project, which include accommodations for men and families.
According to Morgan, what sets the Hope House apart from other shelters in the Ottawa County and West Michigan area is that it’s not tied to any federal funding — meaning offerings at the shelter aren’t limited to what can be funded. The location also offers unique rehabilitation approaches to each resident’s situation.
“It’s really a personal curriculum based on where each person is in life,” Morgan said.
He said some of this curriculum will allow women to take classes on how to cook, parent and how to live on their own with a structured life. Each woman will also have a personal mentor to guide them along their path.
While some people in the program might only need six weeks to get back on track, others might need as long as six months, Morgan said.
“We’re going to give them as long as it takes, as long as they are meeting goals,” he said.
For volunteers involved in making the Love INC project become a reality, seeing the doors finally open is a welcoming sight.
“It’s great, it’s definitely needed,” said volunteer Kathy Teerman.
Teerman said she has been involved with many Love INC volunteer projects, including the Hope House.
“To see it ready to go is very exciting,” she added.
The facility already has some residents, and Love INC is still looking to raise money for the shelter’s future. The organization has about $1.2 million of its $1.8 million fundraising goal, Morgan said. The $1.8 million goal is divided into $800,000 for facility purchases, $500,000 for renovations and $500,000 for up to five years of operating expenses.
“This is not a place that is contingent on year-to-year funding,” Morgan said. “It will be continual.”
Morgan encourages people who want to assist with the shelter to call Hope House Director Kathy McGraw at 846-2701.