The Lodge, at the corner of Hillsboro and Chance streets, will provide a place to sleep for 40 men – up to 80 will be accommodated on bitterly cold nights – as well as other services.
"This is a special place," said Sue Byrd, executive director of Operation Inasmuch, the nonprofit that runs the shelter. "It's not just a place to come and be homeless for the rest of you life. It's a place where you can come and get out of homelessness."
In addition to warm beds and hot meals, the shelter will have a computer lab where the men can work on finding jobs.
"Things such as car wash, working at a car wash and helping out. That's a good start," said Ray Helton, deputy director of Operation Inasmuch. "As they develop their reputation, then they can move on to something else."
Byrd has been feeding and taking care of the homeless for a decade. Plans for the shelter started when she realized the men were returning to the streets every night, even though some were working during the day.
St. Luke AME Church initially objected to having The Lodge next door, with church leaders saying they feared for the safety of the members. But the church eventually started helping Operation Inasmuch, located across the street, serve the homeless in the area.
"It's a place where men are going to be able to change their lives," Helton said of the new shelter.
Freddie Taylor, who has been homeless for some time, said sleeping at The Lodge will be a welcome change.
"This place is important because, if you don't have a home, you have to sleep just about anywhere – on front porches, in the houses, the old abandoned houses, and even under a bridge," Taylor said.
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