JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Café Hope is the Salvation Army of Johnson City’s new social service resource center. It’s where people can go to find the community services and resources they need.
The Johnson City Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility at 204 West Walnut Street on Friday. Salvation Army leaders said the center aims to provide simple yet necessary things to community members.
“We felt like that there was a certain set of services that really weren’t available to folks within our community,” Jeff Keller, Salvation Army Board Advisory Chair said. “Some of that may be our homeless community or others that simply have challenges facing them every day. We want to be able to provide them a safe space that they can come get some needed items that might be snack bags, blankets, socks, things of that sort, perhaps food boxes.”
Social workers will be at Café Hope during business hours to help people find the proper off-site resources, such as healthcare.
“It gives us an opportunity for our social work staff to interact with them, to build, provide case management to them, to assist them, whether it’s with obtaining medical care or obtaining benefits that they may need,” Keller said.
Smart tablets are also at Café Hope, so people can submit job applications, apply for benefits, and use them for other technological needs they may have.
Johnson City Salvation Army Captain Benny Carringer said they’ve seen an uptick in services being provided and those who need assistance in the community. He said the Café Hope program allows them to partner with other non-profits.
“This allows them to come in and see what the Salvation Army can do to help them, but also we can network them, with those other agencies as well, that may be doing something that’s a little different than what we’re doing, and that can help them further than we can as well,” Carringer said.
Daily lockers are also located outside of Café Hope for people experiencing homelessness to store their belongings.
“They can come in and they can check out a locker for the day to put their belongings in as they are going from agency to agency to receive help,” Carringer said. “And that way they’re not having to carry it with them. Sometimes a lot of our friends in need have a lot of items and transporting those can become very cumbersome.”
Carringer said Cafe Hope is a new way for the Salvation Army to show their love and support for their community.
“And continue to include everyone no matter their age, gender or race, and provide them the assistance that they are requesting,” Carringer said.
They are also planning on providing free laundry and showers in the Café Hope space, as well as providing more services in the future.
“We feel like Café Hope feels very inviting,” Carringer said. “It is allowing people to come in and they feel like they have gained hope by knowing that they’re being taken care of, their needs are being met, and our staff is there to assist them during their time of need.”
Café Hope is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, then 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.