The Heritage House of Central Texas has seen 110 homeless clients in the seven months it’s been open in downtown Killeen, taking 30 percent of those off the streets.
However, the organization wouldn’t be successful without the community’s involvement, its director said Wednesday.
Michael Christ, Heritage House director, said since opening its doors, the organization has been on “a fast roller coaster.”
Located in the Bell County HELP Center at 718 N. Second St., Heritage House works through partnerships with several local entities to unite all the services that play a role in eliminating homelessness.
Christ said the organization operates as a hub, directing those in need of services to the necessary resources and walking them through the different processes until they are self-sufficient.
However, Christ said, Heritage House wouldn’t have been as successful in its mission without its volunteers.
“Volunteers and donors’ roles in making this a success is 100 percent,” he said. “We receive no federal or state dollars. We are totally dependent on local donations from businesses and individuals.”
He said the organization won’t be eligible for government assistance until it’s been established for two years. One of the driving forces in the organization’s success is program director and social worker Franchesta Brown, who works full time at Heritage House as a volunteer.
“Just knowing that I made a difference and that I helped someone out is why I do it,” she said. “I truly believe that if I wasn’t here and I was just sitting at home watching TV or doing the dishes, someone would be out there struggling because they couldn’t make the connection from point A to point B. I feel like by me being here, it can help someone succeed in their goals.”
Christ said all of the employees at Heritage House work on a volunteer basis.
The organization is able to keep its outreach going through fundraisers like the Musical Night of Hope.
The center will host its second annual event at 7 p.m. June 13 at First Baptist Church-Killeen, 3310 S. W.S. Young Drive. The event will feature the Messenger Quartet, the Craigs, the First Baptist Praise Band and Paul Q-pek & the Lifeway Fellowship Worship Team.
All of the proceeds from the event go to serve the homeless population in Killeen, Christ said. To make a donation, go to hhct.org or mail in a donation to P.O. Box 1588, Killeen, TX 76540.
The organization soon will add a second location to extend its outreach further Heritage House plans to open a second location around the end of this month through a partnership with The Open Door.
“It’s going to be a day center where the homeless can come in, have a cup of coffee and a doughnut, do laundry and take a shower,” he said.
Case workers will also be on hand at the second location to assist the homeless in acquiring the necessary resources.
“It’s a perfect fit for us to partner with The Open Door,” Christ said.
The second location will be at 1103 N. Gray St.