Hiway 80 Rescue Mission is planning an expansion of its Tyler ministry. The nonprofit agency has purchased 3 acres west of Tyler to serve as a supportive housing and rehabilitation facility for men. Its residents would be participants in the Christ-centered alcohol and drug recovery program.
The nonprofit organization would continue to operate Gateway to Hope, its day resource center for people who are homeless.
"I really see this as kind of a neighborhood within the neighborhood that will give people the opportunity to build a foundation that will see them through to being self-sufficient," Dawn Moltzan, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission's Tyler director, said. "It's also really important to me that while people are with us, they are building those … relationships that will see them beyond our doors."
In 2015, the Hiway 80 Rescue Mission began a long-term agreement with the city of Tyler to operate Gateway to Hope. It has a three-year special-use permit.
The nonprofit has had its headquarters and primary recovery and transition program in Longview for 62 years.
Rescue Mission Executive Director Eric Burger said the nonprofit organization has been looking for land in Tyler for about three years starting after the East Texas Rescue Mission, an overnight shelter for men, closed in 2010.
However, it's taken some time to find a piece of land and a location that would fit their purposes.
This space is a little more than 3 acres and located at 12781 Texas Highway 64, about 2 miles east of the Tyler Pounds Regional Airport in unincorporated Smith County. The property has two houses. One is a five-bedroom house, and the other is a three-bedroom house. Both of them need some updating, Burger said, but they are in good condition.
The plan is to build six cottages, with three of them for the recovery program and the other three for the transition program. This would not be a walk-in shelter and would only house men who are committed to participating in the structured recovery or transition program. There are some additional criteria and sex-offenders are prohibited from living there.
Burger said ultimately the location would house between 60 and 70 men in its recovery and transition program. There is a possibility of adding a family component, but that might be on a different property.
The timeline of the opening depends heavily on the nonprofit's ability to raise the funds for the project.
An individual donor provided $25,000 for the down payment, but the property costs $207,000. Burger estimated the construction and renovation for the first phase would cost between $750,000 and $1 million.
Burger said they would start building and renovating as the money comes in.
A CLOSER LOOK
The Hiway 80 Rescue Mission will have its Tyler luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 27 at the Rose Garden Center. A dinner is scheduled for Longview the same day. Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry, who is an ordained Christian minister and author, is the scheduled keynote speaker. Event sponsorships are available. Call Dawn at 903-617-6097 for more information.