The desire to see Hiway 80 Rescue Mission take over operations at Gateway to Hope, a day resource room for homeless people, came out of a conversation and friendship with the organization that grew, a Gateway board member said.
Tyler City Councilman Don Warren, a Gateway to Hope board member, said Hiway 80 was one of several area agencies that several months ago provided a caseworker to work with Gateway clients.
At that point, Gateway realized the importance for each of its clients to individually meet with a caseworker.
“In the past, we provided all these services, but I think we failed to really help them define … their needs,” Warren said. “The goal in the beginning was to create a gateway into the community and we lacked that caseworker element, which is what Hiway 80 brings to the picture, among other things.”
Hiway 80 Rescue Mission and Gateway to Hope plan to enter an agreement to allow Hiway 80 to operate the Gateway facility at 601 E. Valentine St. for a six-month time frame.
Gateway announced in February that it would be temporarily closing to reassess its role in the community and hire a new executive director. Neither Gateway nor Hiway 80 leadership had a specific opening date.
Hiway 80 is a nonprofit organization that operates a shelter in Longview and has a Tyler Outreach Office.
It has been serving East Texans who are homeless and in need since 1995, according to a news release.
Since the East Texas Rescue Mission in Tyler closed in 2010, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission has stepped up its Tyler efforts.
Under this new agreement, Hiway 80 would operate Gateway to Hope for a six-month period, but the six-member Gateway board would remain involved, Warren said.
At the end of the six months, the boards of both agencies will make a decision regarding how to proceed.
Warren said those involved are still determining goals but, in general, they want to make sure “that it’s a good fit for the community and that the clients of Gateway to Hope are entering in the community as productive.”
Through this change, Warren expects each client’s “chances of being plugged back into the community … to increase” because of the one-on-one attention from caseworkers.
Those caseworkers can help each person find out what they need and how to address those needs, he said.