Former homeless shelter in Elizabeth City could reopen by January

Posted at 8:16 PM, Nov 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-05 20:16:56-05

Elizabeth City, N.C. - A homeless shelter that was forced to close more than a year ago, could be reopening soon.

An area non-profit called Visions of Hope is working with the city to start operating a shelter again out of the city-owned house on Herrington Road.

"They deserve to have a successful life, a meaningful life just as you, I and anyone else," said Rita Bowe with Visions of Hope.

The shelter has been closed since Sept. 2013 after the group running it at the time, Gardens of Hope, could no longer afford to operate it.

NewsChannel 3 spoke to some of the women who were living there when it closed.  One woman said when she got the news her "world just fell apart."

Recently, Visions of Hope stepped forward and presented a plan to city council to start operating out of the building.

In a memo to city council, the city manager recommended selling the property instead.  He wrote that funding for homeless shelters has dried up and this group could run into the same problems as before.

City council decided to let them move forward, though.

"We have a major homeless problem here in Elizabeth City.  You see a lot of homeless people walking the streets at night, trying to find someplace to go," said Councilman Darius Horton.

That's why Rita Bowe and Helen Williams with Visions of Hope say they're determined to get it up and running again.

"We’re gonna make it happen," said Bowe.

Like their predecessors, they plan to house nine women and children with one of the women serving as a live-in manager.

They still have to hold a public hearing and sign agreements with the city, but if everything goes as planned, they hope to open the shelter by January.

To make that happen, Bowe says they will need a lot of support from the community, either money or donations for the house.

If you'd like more information, you can reach them at: (252) 916-8362 or