2023 was an extremely busy year for us. And now that the Christmas festivities have wrapped up (pun,) and all the New Year’s confetti has been cleaned up – we have an occasion for reflection. At House of Hope we have seen that we shouldn’t take anything for granted, and so we’ll encourage everyone reading this to pause and reflect along with us as take a look back at 2023.
No doubt our biggest development since House of Hope opened in 2009 was the completion of a major expansion project at the beginning of 2023. Over the past couple of years, we have been planning and implementing a renovation at the shelter that would nearly triple our capacity. As a result, we now have a dedicated Women & Children’s shelter called ‘Norma’s Place.’ Norma Brower was pivotal in getting this project started, had the foresight to see it was needed, and the courage to say it should happen. The shelter is named in her memory. Also, our current shelter became ‘Phil & Fran’s Place’, named in honor of the Daly Family. The Daly’s have been a part of House of Hope since its beginning, and they continue to help this shelter. Phil & Fran’s Place houses our Men’s Shelter and Family Shelter.
In 2023, we also hosted our very first fundraiser! ‘Coldest Night of the Year’ is an annual walk where people come together to raise funds for those experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness. This year, we had over 100 walkers support the cause and raise $25,000! It was a huge success and we are so grateful for everyone that was a part of the event. If you’re interested in walking to make a difference, the Coldest Night of the Year will happen on Feb 24, 2024. Sign up at cnoy.com/danville!
If you don’t have a car, getting around Danville can be difficult. Services are spread out, it’s very hilly, and the bus system can be confusing if you’ve never used it before. We have had a lot of obstacles in getting people to the places they need to be. Rental interviews, doctor appointments, first day on the job, etc. These things can be hard to organize – especially if they get cancelled, rescheduled, or take longer than expected. Thankfully, Danville Pittsylvania Community Services Board (DPCS) donated us a car! This is a huge help to our guests, and through 2023 we drove our guests a total of 200 miles (just in the city!) to much-needed destinations. Thank you to DPCS for the car, and thank you First Presbyterian Church for donating to help us keep it on the road!
Unfortunately, not all the news is good. In 2023, we found more people in need of emergency shelter than ever before. 387 men, women, and children came through the doors at House of Hope seeking shelter. Compare this to 2022, where we served 219 people. That is a 75% increase of need. There are many reasons for this troubling trend, but by far the biggest reason is the increasing cost of housing. Everywhere we look, people are struggling to maintain homes. Families are breaking up, rent falls behind, the social safety net for many people is being taken apart by rising housing costs. It’s a struggle happening across the country, and we are definitely seeing its toll on our community.
To recognize all these transitions, we thought that our logo needed a bit of a refresh. So, we have a new logo! Stop by, say hi, and check out the place. We love to tell the story of House of Hope and discuss the experiences of homelessness and what people can do to help. Have a blessed 2024!