This is where hope lives - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

This is where hope lives

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By Ryan Houston - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –With frigid temperatures forecast for this week, it's going to be especially hard for the homeless. In 2005 according to the Associated Press, more than 700,000 people slept on the streets.

When it's a struggle just to make it through the day, some say it's easy to lose hope. A Place 4 Hope is actually a Day Center for the homeless.

They offer services like, a hot shower, the ability to do laundry, and a cup of coffee. That may not sound like much, but for others, it's something they can only dream about.

A bath, a cup of coffee and something as small as heat can be taken for granted."Small stuff I missed the most, like having clean underwear, and a warm cup of coffee," said Eric Johnson. 

Those things offer 46-year-old Eric Johnson a glimpse of hope. He wasn't as always focused on the small stuff. "In '93 I had an accident, and things were tough after that," said Johnson.

He worked as a commercial diver before the accident. After a long estate battle with his brothers, he found himself living on the street. "From then you know it's been a struggle, just trying to stay a float, one day at a time," said Johnson. 

The hardest part of it all, is not being able to have a hot shower or clean clothes. "It isolates you from other people. You start to accept the fact that I've had on the same clothes all week," said Johnson. 

"A simple thing we take for granted. It's nothing to get up in the morning to shower and shave. And you feel better about yourself," said Day Center Monitor Mark Amspaugh.

Thanks to a place for hope, Eric will have that same chance as well. "I'm thinking this place will be a set up, to point you in the right direction. This is where you need to go,"  said Johnson.

"A place to just put them on some solid ground," said Amspaugh. On a large scale what they're offering is mi-nute. But to those in need, it's a small piece of heaven.

"Nobody wants to sit next to the guy, with the six foot long beard, and has been wearing the same clothes for 3 months," Johnson. Finally, if we all don't have some form of hope, what do have anyway?

 Financially, they're in need of donations to meet all the bills. If you don't have money, a box of detergent, soap, or towels will be greatly appreciated.

This Thursday a training session is being held at the Salvation Army for A Place 4 Hope volunteers. Training is free and will last about two hours.

The only thing you need to bring is a picture ID.

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