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Area agencies look to fill need after area shelter closes

A longstanding homeless shelter in Hannibal has closed and now other area shelters and even drug treatment centers are looking for solutions.

After 25 years, the Hope House closed its doors for good last week. The owners say the home was falling apart and they couldn’t keep up with it themselves and funds to fix it were drying up.

Now, other area agencies say it leaves a void in the community that will be hard to fill.

In Hannibal, if you needed somewhere to sleep for a night or two, the Hope House was there to take you in.

“Dorothy and Verna, that ran the Hope House for all these years,” said Turning Point Recovery Center Executive Director Jennifer Wilson. “They were caring and compassionate women. They gave up so much time in order to help others. We just knew they were always going to be there.”

Wilson said Hope House helped them too. When people leave Turning Point, there’s typically a few days where they are without housing before they get to a permanent home.

“If we had consumers who couldn’t necessarily get into their housing really quickly or couldn’t necessarily get in here the same day they needed it, they could go there and stay a night or two,” said Wilson.

Wilson said the next closest emergency shelter is now in Quincy with The Salvation Army. Officials there said it will be difficult to help fill the need the Hope House leaves behind.

“The biggest concern is we are often full here in Quincy and I do not have much room,” said Heidi Welty with the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t already serving that area. Some of the clients that are here that create full capacity may be from Missouri or a surrounding county.”

As for if the Salvation Army will open up a second emergency shelter in Hannibal, it’s not totally out of the question.

“Really what we’re doing now is just thinking and really seeing what’s even possible,” said Welty.

Meanwhile the owners of the Hope House said they’re hopeful that an area church is able to step in and open some sort of emergency shelter of their own.

Brett Knese

Multi-Media Journalist at WGEM News.

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