The Brightside: HOPE, Inc. helping those in need
SALISBURY, Md. – For anyone experiencing homelessness in Wicomico County, knowing where to get started on the search for housing or employment can be daunting. That’s where the Help and Outreach Point of Entry, otherwise known as HOPE, Inc., steps in.
“We help the people at and below poverty levels, the homeless, the unsheltered, get their bases in order, so that they can get housed, employed, and receive healthcare,” Donna Clark, the Executive Director, said.
Clark says navigating the system can be hard, even for something like getting a state ID.
“To get an ID, you need a birth certificate, to get a birth certificate, you need an ID, so we help navigate that system,” she said. “The whole goal is to help people get back on their feet, and get a leg up so that they can get started toward becoming productive members of the community.”
Clark and her team work out of the basement of the Wicomico Presbyterian Church on Tuesdays and Thursdays, welcoming anyone who needs their help completing paperwork, looking for jobs, or even healthcare. It’s funded mostly by private donations and the people working inside the church basement are almost entirely volunteers.
“You really have to have a heart for the homeless. If you’re judgmental, if you feel that people just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, you’re not a good fit here,” Clark said.
The team gets some help from other agencies in the county that can point people in the right direction to get housing and other social services. They even work hand in hand with local dental offices.
“We do assist with dental care on a limited basis, as long as we have the funds, we help the people,” Clark explained.
She says the work is all worth it when people come back to them, sharing the success they’ve seen since getting help from HOPE, Inc.
“When they come back and give us that big hug and say thank you, it’s such an awesome feeling,” Clark said.
For anyone who wants to share in that feeling of helping others, Clark says their door is always open.
“If you believe that you can help people, guide them through their various traumas and trials, this is where you need to be,” she said.
The center is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. They also recently started serving lunch again and are in need of volunteers to help prepare and distribute those lunches. If you’re interested in getting involved, you can contact Clark by searching Help and Outreach Point of Entry on Facebook.