New, Expanded Center of Hope Opens in Conroe, Texas
The Wayne Bergstrom Center of Hope opened following a well-attended ribbon-cutting ceremony held outside of the new facility in Conroe, Texas, May 15.
The 15,000-square-foot building will be able to accommodate 64 men, 48 women and four families. The previous shelter only accomodated single men without children and single mothers without teenage boys. The expanded facility will also allow the corps to expand its educational services, day shelter and feeding program.
The Salvation Army Conroe Corps, located across the street from the new shelter, has operated the Red Shield Lodge homeless shelter at its current location since 1990. The Red Shield Lodge can accommodate 44 individuals on any given night, but is continuously over capacity and stretched past its limit.
In 2015, the Red Shield Lodge provided shelter to 811 clients and in 2016 that number increased to 867.
Due to the growing need in Montgomery County, the new Wayne Bergstrom Center of Hope will accommodate 74 individuals, with the capacity to increase to 128 beds. Additionally, the new shelter will include four family rooms, allowing for lodging of families the old shelter was unable to accommodate on-site, for example a single father with a child or a mother with a teenage son.
“Thanks to the new Wayne Bergstrom Center of Hope, we will be able to help and serve more people experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County than ever before,” shared Major Don Wildish, officer of The Salvation Army Conroe Corps. “Likewise, we will also have more space for the programs we currently offer at the Corps Community Center, such as the Social Services office, Celebrate Recovery, youth activities, and worship services.”
In addition to doubling capacity, the new Wayne Bergstrom Center of Hope will continue to offer the daily lunch program and serve as a warming or cooling station during extreme weather.
The new facility is name for a longtime supporter of The Salvation Army who was born in a Salvation Army hospital in 1932 and served as chair of the Montgomery County Salvation Army Advisory Council. He died in October 2013 at the age of 81. His wife, Jean Bergstrom, attended the ceremony, accepting a bouquet of roses on his behalf.