KentHOPE meeting builds community connections

KentHOPE had a record number of people attend its latest weekly planning meeting.

KentHOPE had a record number of people attend its latest weekly planning meeting.

“We had a large turnout that included individuals from neighborhood associations and several people who were new to the issue of homelessness and eager to participate,” said Pat Gray, KentHOPE member. “Everyone who attended is very committed to the goal of establishing a day center and volunteered specific skills to help during the process and after the day center is established.”

April 19 was the first general meeting of KentHOPE held in the evening. The executive committee, made up of Chris Gough and Mike Johnson from Union Gospel Mission, Daniel McDougall-Treacy of Valley Cities, Rev. Bill Kirlin-Hackett of the InterFaith Task Force on Homelessness and nine others from various faith communities in Kent, meets in weekly planning sessions.

At this meeting, KentHOPE members discussed its vision of establishing a day center and eventual overnight shelter to provide hope and assist those who are homeless in pathways to stable housing and a more secure future. The group has been seeking another location for their day center and a shelter for the homeless ever since the Kent City Council declined the use of the Kent Resource Center to house their needs.

“Right now we are looking for another location for our day center and eventual shelter,” Gray said. “We are working with a realtor and viewing those that seem promising.”

KentHOPE has 19 congregations represented either on its executive committee, general meeting attendees, or receiving emails or calls from individuals indicating a desire to help.

“We have had people in the community contacting us asking how they can help the homeless right now, so we have decided to publish on our web site and in a brochure all of the community meals and services that presently exist to help our marginalized population,” Gray said. “We are happy to take on the role of facilitator to connect volunteers with the services that now exist.”

KentHOPE hosts a Pastor’s Coffee on Thursday, April 26, from 10:30 p.m. to noon at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, 19300 108th Ave. SE, Renton. The intent of the meeting is to form a Pastor’s Steering Committee to determine the date and type of fundraiser it plans to host next fall.

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