Hello, friends! We are down to our final two weeks of the annual Community House Cares Campaign Fundraiser. We are still just over 50% of the way to our goal, so we need a bit of a bump in order to make it!
This month, Community House on Broadway is celebrating 30 years in operation! Things look a lot different than they did in 1988, and we believe we’re only getting better by the year.
Community House on Broadway began in 1988. The old Broadway Hotel at 11th & Broadway in Longview was originally purchased to be converted into a small Christian college. When those plans fell through, a steering committee led by Ned Piper, Margaret Spence, Ferris Albers, Emary Piper, and Steve Wilcox (among others) hit upon the idea of starting a homeless shelter. The 7 member steering committee began fundraising and recruiting community members to help renovate and remodel the building. The committee set goals of raising $100,000 and getting the 30 rooms on the second floor refurbished before cold weather set in. In order to accomplish these ambitious goals, they started writing letters to the editor and speaking to local church groups seeking donations. They created bylaws, obtained a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization designation, and created the Community House on Broadway, the first local shelter for homeless families and individuals. The public support was amazing! According to Ned Piper, he had the “...idea to give community groups and churches the opportunity to Adopt-a-Room at Community House on Broadway. As soon as we let the word out, church groups, union groups, individual groups, and service clubs began signing up to pay money and send workers to renovate their room. All 60 rooms were adopted in a fairly short time. The place was like a beehive of activity.” Many businesses and individuals also donated. Ned further commented: “...I knew this was going to be a success, when a 10 year old boy brought his friend from school to see his room at a homeless shelter. He was so proud of it. That blew me away.” Many groups volunteered to cook meals. Besides monetary donations, food, clothing, and furniture were also donated. Kay Kilbourn, Peggy Johnson (the dining room is named in her honor), Pat Martin, Steve Harvey, Pastor Ron Kemp, and Hal Mahnke were among the first advisory board members to serve. Rich Kirk was hired as the executive director and CHOB became a model for homeless shelters throughout the United States. Upon Rich’s retirement in 2012, Frank Morrison was appointed executive director. The success and impact on many lives continues today! CHOB has consistently provided a hand up, not a hand out.
Back in 1988, the Community House opened its doors to house about 35 people per night; these days there are 115 people, 40-50 of whom are children, on a typical night at CHOB. One thing that hasn’t changed: the Community House is committed to being a clean and sober space for the families and individuals who stay there.
The Cares Campaign Fundraiser Dinner marks the official kick-off of the 8th Annual Community House Cares Campaign! Our goal is to raise $200,000 by July 1st to cover operating costs through the summer. About 90% of our funds come from private citizens like you. Thank you for supporting the Community House on Broadway!