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Abilene non-profit launches new program to house homeless

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ABILENE, Texas - A non-profit organization in Abilene that helps house the homeless will welcome 21 new residents in early February.

Hope Haven's Bridge to Home program provides a residence in the organization's building for homeless people to stay up to 90 days.

In the past, the non-profit had a transitional program that housed homeless people for one year. Executive Director John Cooper said the group hopes to help as many people as possible with the 90-day program.

"Our mission is to inspire hope and we believe we do that every time we open our home to our neighbors," Cooper said. "So it's not just about housing, for us it's about dignity, it's about hope it's much bigger than just putting a roof over someone's head."

Last year, the West Texas Homeless Network conducted a survey and determined there were 97 homeless people living on the Abilene streets. Bridge to Home is funded by the United Way, a grant by the Community Foundation of Abilene, and church donations, Cooper said.

Cooper said Hope Haven will launch another program in April that helps homeless people find permanent apartment and homes. He said the aim is to help people transition from the 90-day program to permanent homes.

If a resident still needs help at the end of the 90-day period, they can reapply. Residents are chosen on a need basis.

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