Leaders gathered to celebrate 40 years at New Hope Housing, a homeless shelter that grew from eight homeless adults to providing service for 400 people a day. 

“People can and do change, and they can see something different for themselves,” said Pamela Michell, Executive Director, New Hope Housing

Officials said the first gift they give residents is hope.

“When everything is falling apart in a tangible way, you don’t have food [and] you don’t have a place to live, it is hard to think about hope. It is hard to have dreams. It is, ‘Woe is me. I am just getting more and more down.’ Our job is to make people think, ‘Where do I want to go, and how do I get there?” said Michell.

A smile, a meal and a connection to an employer; these are all things that New Hope Housing gives to its residents.

Tonya Gregg, a former New Hope Housing resident, said that, from her experience, coming in from day one was drastically different from when she left.

“I had a case manager that was like, ‘Okay. I want you to think about this. What do you really want? What do you dream of having? I’m like, ‘I don’t know. It is hard to dream. I don’t have a house,'” said Tonya Gregg, former New Hope Housing resident.

Above all, Gregg said New Hope Housing did one very important thing: it dared her to dream.

“Oh my gosh. It was dramatic. I was a substance abuser. My drug of choice was crack. Can you imagine being a crack addict to being this woman today?” said Gregg.