House of Hope warming center in Branson, Mo., receives money to help get rid of potential bed bug problems

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 11:36 AM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Branson’s only warming center, House of Hope, fills up with people when the weather turns cold. However, challenges can arise when several people are housed in one space.

The Skaggs Foundation recently awarded House of Hope with a grant for a ZappBug Oven, otherwise known as a portable heat treatment room. Unfortunately, bed bugs can be a part of housing visitors in one space. Luckily, the warming center hasn’t dealt with bugs in the center, but it wants to be prepared just in case. With the ZappBug Oven, guests can put their belongings and linens in it if bed bugs occur. Last year House of Hope expanded its services beyond just a warming center. Staff now help guests get back on their feet with resume assistance, finding jobs, and assisting families in extended stay motels. In the event of a motel closure in which individuals must relocate, the treatment room can be a valuable resource to clean their belongings and eliminate infestation.

“One of the things we’ve really figured out is, when we’re transitioning people from extended stay to extended stay, a lot of times pest is an issue and a barrier to relocating to a new place,” said House of Hope services director Alex Sprinkle. “People had to get rid of a lot of their belongings. We wanted to figure out a way to address the issue before they moved to their new place, so they could keep as many belongings as they could.”

Sprinkle says the Zapp Ovens cost a little over $1,000. The Skaggs Foundation grant will cover the cost of the first one. House of Hope staff hopes to have two by the time the warming center opens this winter.

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