JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Members of Walnut Street Baptist Church say they are about spreading the gospel while tending to the need in Jonesboro.
They recently purchased a 10,000-square-foot building on Highway 226 that they plan to renovate into a homeless shelter.
The Homeless Ministries of Jonesboro will be able to house at least 40 people.
It will serve as a transition house for the community, much like Mission Outreach in Paragould, said Danny Pridmore, the shelter's interim director.
"This is not a permanent home but a transition home so that we can help them get to their permanent home in the future," said Pridmore.
Pridmore said their church has been working closely with the Jonesboro Homeless Task Force and they found that there are 40 to 45 homeless people in the area.
"These people are down on their luck a lot of time and they have had difficulties and have found themselves to be homeless," said Pridmore. "They are usually found around the mall or the library but they commute back and forth from Craighead County to Greene County and so on."
Pridmore said they are still in the renovation process but, according to their estimates, they know it will take about $277,000 to operate the shelter every year.
"Thanks to the local churches here, businesses, and individuals who have been supporting us with money donations, I believe we can make this work," said Pridmore.
Initially, Pridmore said the building will be for homeless men but he looks forward to expanding so they will be able to serve women and families.
He wants everyone to know that this goes far beyond the Walnut Street Baptist Church. It will be a ministry-based shelter that will include several churches throughout the community to come and minister to their future occupants.
"Anytime that you have access to the gospel is going to be beneficial to a person," said Pridmore. "This is an opportunity for Jonesboro to step up and be a place where we can help people right here at home."
The Homeless Ministries of Jonesboro is expected to open in January 2017.
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