Bridges of Hope giving people a warm meal and place to sleep in Greene County

    Bridges of Hope giving people a warm meal and place to sleep in Greene County (WKEF/WRGT)

    GREENE COUNTY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - With temperatures dropping, one Greene County shelter reopened its doors Thursday night to provide a warm meal and warm place to sleep.

    Bridges of Hope in Xenia started its second year of service with a line of people waiting at the door, including some who never thought they would need their help.

    John Navarro was the first person in line having unexpectedly lost his apartment this week.

    “It’s $315 for the hotel up the street for a week and at that price, I could be paying for a home for that," Navarro said. "That’s why I decided to come here, save my money and look for an apartment.”

    Since they closed their doors in the spring, Bridges of Hope said almost everything has changed in preparation of them reopening but their mission remains the same.

    “We’re so excited that guests can finally come in, get off of the street, get a place to sleep, showers, a hot meal, a hot breakfast," Manager Jill Conkel said.

    Located in the old Simon Kenton elementary building, Bridges of Hope provided shelter to 110 people in its first year last year, but that almost didn't happen.

    Last year, the shelter faced permanent closure after $250,000 of repairs were found.

    After our station brought attention to the problems, home improvement chain Lowe's stepped up to help Bridges of Hope get the work done.

    Bridges of Hope runs on donations from the community, but they don't necessarily believe in handouts. The shelter makes sure those who put in more get more out of their stay.

    "So if they want some clothing resources, they’re going to do chores. They’re going to attend a life class. They’re going to attend a meeting outside of here and they let us know, we’ll give them shelter bucks and then they’ve earned what they’re getting," Conkle said.

    But by just existing, the shelter is already creating the hope in its name.

    “As bad as my situation my sounds, the timing [of the opening] was perfect and hopefully I can find a better life here in town.” Navarro said.

    The next goal for the shelter is to make improvements to the rest of this old school building, so they can keep their doors open year round.

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