House of Hope in Branson, Mo., to begin construction, facility upgrades after special use permit approval Tuesday
BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - The Branson Planning Commission approved a special use permit for Branson’s House of Hope warming center Tuesday. The decision determined whether or not House of Hope would be able to open and operate as a warming center again this winter.
After the approval, House of Hope will be able to open and can now up its capacity. Capacity levels will go from 25 to 49. Last year, 82 people used the warming center, and over 400 meals were served. Some guests stayed for a couple of nights, and others would stay for only one and then transition out of Branson or find other housing.
Services director Alex sprinkle says allowing up to 49 guests will give staff the ability to help even more people, and they won’t have to say no to guests needing a warm, safe place. As part of the special use permit, House of Hope will also install a new fire hydrant, sprinkler system, and fire-resistant ceiling panels to increase guest safety. The organization will also be able to open as a cooling center in the hot summer months.
“In addition, we have a bathroom that we’re going to add. That way, there is a bathroom for both men and women,” said Sprinkle. “We’re going to expand the laundry facilities, just operating a bigger space so they can do their laundry, but also we can do laundry for the warming center as well.”
”Before they opened the warming center, we did have issues,” said Scott Hall, who works near House of Hope. “We had people that would crawl into our crawl space under our building and sleep in there because it was cold at night.”
House of Hope has one year to complete all of the construction. Staff says they will remain open during the construction period. Once all the projects are completed, the center will have the special use permit forever.
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