CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)--The first women's shelter in Carteret County is now open and ready to help serve women in need.
It's part of the latest outreach effort by the Hope Mission.
Director of the women's shelter, Terri Mace, was once homeless herself and says running the shelter is part of her mission to give back for the help that she received.
"These women need people to love them, they need people to stop looking down on them, or looking like they're chewing gum stuck on the bottom of their feet or turning their head when they pass them on the road," Mace said.
Funded entirely by help from the community, the mission opened the doors to the shelter, affectionately named Hope Floats, on February 1st. In total, there are eight beds for women in need.
For the mission, which also runs a soup kitchen, substance abuse centers, and a men's shelter, opening a shelter for women was the next logical step.
"There was not one in Carteret County so when we dealt with any homeless lady we had to put them in a motel or we'd have to find a family for them to stay with or carry them to Jacksonville or New Bern," Gene McLendon, the executive director of the mission, said.
Women staying in the shelter will be required to graduate in six months from the program. During that time they will complete household chores, actively look for jobs during the day, and complete any required counseling.
"We have everything that we can possibly give them but the home is where the heart is and that's where I want these women to feel comfortable," Mace said. "I want them to walk in and say this is my home for the next six months."
Mace and McLendon say they hope to expand the program in the future. They are also always willing to accept donations from the community. If you'd like to help out you can donate at the Hope Mission Thrift Store in downtown Morehead City or by calling 252-240-2359. More information is also available here.