To respond to the growing number of homeless families in our community, the Opportunity Center has begun to develop plans for a new family shelter. The El Paso Coalition for the Homeless identifies an estimated 1,400 men, women, and youth/children seeking shelter and services every night. Many of those seeking assistance are single or dual-parent families with no place to go. With the current shelter system stretched to the limit and unable to meet the needs of this growing population, it is clear that a new program to serve homeless families is essential.
The Opportunity Center has secured a long-term lease on the 510 S. Oregon Street property and is engaging in planning efforts to renovate the facility. The goal of the project will be to house upwards of 20 families per year, connect them with supportive services, and support their efforts to transition out of homelessness. This facility will address both short-term emergency housing and transitional housing needs of families.
A unique aspect of this project is that it will allow all family members to be housed together. While other local shelter facilities often separate families if there is a father or male over the age of 12 years of age, it is our belief that keeping the family unit intact is an added relief to families already struggling with the challenges of homelessness. Whether families experience homelessness due to loss of income, housing, employment, benefits, family violence, or other difficult situations, we will seek to provide them with a safe place in which to rebuild and work towards self-sufficiency.
If you are interested in supporting this new project, please visit our donations page or contact the Opportunity Center!
Some of my techie staff still think that I have not yet entered the 21st Century. Well, our new website will diminish their tone for a short while. In my defense I have learned to use the latest technology. Why, I’ve had an ATM card for two years now!
All kidding aside, I am thrilled that we now have a presence on the Internet. The greater outside world can now see who we are. Our large Opportunity Center team makes this place a place where even miracles happen every once in a while. After ‘X’ number of chances, some of our homeless graduate from college, get a job, and return to their community and family. Some of the bigger miracles are those that recover from drug and alcohol addiction in spite of their poverty. This all happens even within our very limited resources. Folks far beyond El Paso will now see the great work that is done here. All because I am not as technically challenged as my techie-geeks think!
Personally, on a truly sad note, our Safe Zone Coordinator and my dear friend, Miguel Neyra, passed away this past September. Miguel, was one of those one-in-a-million people we are blest in our lifetime to know.
God Speed, Miguel!
Ray Tullius, Executive Director
Our dear brother and friend, Miguel Neyra, passed on to his Lord this past September 15th. Miguel was an amazing man, and led an amazing life. He had been imprisoned by the Castro regime in his youth as a political prisoner, and spent 18 years in that hell. He was exiled to the U.S., and he finally made his way to El Paso in 1997. Even as a homeless man at the OC, Miguel would help wherever he could to improve someone else’s situation. After working in the shelter for almost 10 years, he agreed to direct our Safe Zone Program for recovering addicted men. In his typical fashion, and with no formal training, he helped develop a program that has cared for over 200 men to date, and he personally lived on-site to support and direct the men. He was an angel even in life. He gave tirelessly by personally performing manifold tasks that kept the OC operating and clean. Miguel, Gracias a Dios for your gifts and your blessings!
To our dismay, one of our past residents filed a change of address with the post office, and the post office ended up incorrectly changing the OC’s address. “What a mess, “ you say! Yikes, some of our donations, in particular, were not making it to the OC and were being returned to the donors.
We would like to apologize for any inconvenience this has caused any of our donors and supporters. We have corrected the mistake with the post office, and the mail is correctly getting to us once again. Thank you for your patience. Please send mail to our post office box: P.O. Box 63, El Paso, TX 79941-0063
Our executive director daily picks up our mail there!