Durham Rescue Mission expands before winter

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DURHAM (WTVD) -- Forty new beds are ready to provide a place of rest and refuge for forty more people this winter. The Durham Rescue Mission cut the ribbon on their newly renovated "New Beginnings" building Wednesday, expanding their men's shelter.

The building includes a new renovated chapel, dormitory, bathrooms, and is fully handicap accessible. In fact, retrofitting the building with a new elevator is something the organizations chief operations officer, Rob Tart, said they're proud of.

"It's actually demeaning when you can't go where everybody else is going," Tart said "When you have to be helped up like a sack of potatoes."

"We do the best we can to not make them feel bad, but still none-the less, this is going to be so much more enhancing to their experience here, as well as to all of the residents, to have a clean, nice place to stay," he added.

The Rescue Mission also unveiled an artist's rendering of their plan for continued expansion. The organization owns the other properties on the block, and plans to demolish those houses and build new dormitories.

They still need to raise $200,000 to fund the project, and hope to break ground in February.

If you're interested in donating to the Durham Rescue Mission, you can check them out here.

Tart said being able to provide the homeless community with a clean, breathable, living space makes a difference in helping them get back on their feet.

"Most people when they think of a homeless shelter they think of straggly old people that have no hope, and there is no hope for that, Tart said.

"When you bring them into an environment that is not clean, when you bring them to an environment where they're packed in like sardines, it doesn't do anything to help them to gain some hope - because it is hope (that) people need," he said. "It's hope that's what makes people get up in the morning; and when you don't have hope, you don't have anything, and so this is a place of hope."

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