Barnes presents check for $150,000 to CPOH

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Nov. 20—HENDERSON — Sen. Lisa Barnes presented a hefty check to Community Partners of Hope on Monday. She, along with Reps. Frank Sossamon and Matthew Winslow, secured a $150,000 appropriation in the state budget for CPOH's project to open the City Road Center for Hope Men's Shelter.

The money puts CPOH just over their first milestone of $350,000. CPOH Board Member and Secretary Jane King expressed hope that the organization will win another $125,000 grant from the Cannon Foundation, which would go towards renovations.

She was surprised to learn of the appropriation, she said.

Of that money, around $307,000 is needed for renovations, including construction of fire walls and a security system.

Currently, and for the past 14 years, CPOH operates the shelter seasonally out of the First Presbyterian Church's basement. The plan is to close down that location and reopen out of the City Road Methodist Church at 903 North Garnett Street in April, at the earliest.

"Seasonally" is an important word. The shelter has only been open in the winter months. The goal for this new shelter is to stay open year-round, as homeless men suffer during the warmer months. Who wants to be outside, all day, in the August sun?

Assuming they reach their second goal of $500,000, they'll be able to do so. Doubling their time open means they'll be doubling their payroll, after all. There's much more — the new location will have bunks for the double the number of men — 16 permanent beds and eight temporary in case of extreme weather, as well as showers and a kitchen. It'll also have a consultation and exam room and two gathering rooms.

The new location, besides complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, is more spacious, is in a better location and has better lit outdoors and indoors. The old location is a basement with enough room for men to sit on a bed or at a table.

"Sen. Barnes has always been a friend to Vance County," said Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington. "This is just one of many!"

Kerr Area Transportation Authority has pledged 40 tokens monthly, if those staying at the shelter need a ride. Gupton Services has promised to install HVAC services as an in-kind donation, said King.

Barnes thanked Vance County Commissioner Tommy Hester, who she said pointed her in the right direction.

First United Methodist Pastor George Loveland praised Barnes for taking on a cause that isn't the most glamorous. She said that CPOH has proven itself, having operated the shelter for 14 years.

Shelter Manager Darryl Jones once stayed there and was later the first man to stay in the Hope House. The years-long member of CPOH expressed hope that the shelter will help men like it helped him.

"What it did for me, it can do for other men," Jones said. He is an example of what the shelter can do, if used the "right way." Jones went to vocational rehabilitation, secured a job coach and accessed other services in getting himself on his feet, he explained.

Barnes left City Road and went straight to another such presentation at the Vance County Finance and Administration building on Young Street, handing a $4 million check earmarked for water and sewer to Vance County at the Board of Commissioners' work session later that day. Sossamon and Winslow joined her. In the next round of redistricting, Winslow will represent a portion of southern Vance County.

It's not yet clear if the money has any specific purpose, though it is to be used for water and sewer.

Sossamon said he and the others were honored to present the check, and that it could be cashed out at a drive-thru. He was joking with that latter comment.

Barnes said the presentation was an example of what her and her compatriots strive to accomplish — bringing money from the state level to localities.

Winslow expressed a desire to meet and greet with the board members, now that he'll be representing part of their county.