In 2019, the only emergency shelter in Calhoun County closed–exacerbating our community’s homelessness crisis. In fact, from 2022 to 2023, the number of chronically homeless men and women rose from 68 to 111. In 2021, the Anniston City Council recognized the need for coordinated care for those experiencing homelessness and created the Community Task Force on Homelessness, led by United Way of East Central Alabama, to create solutions for this community-wide challenge. The collaborative work of the Task Force identified three community partners with integral components to the answer: United Way of East Central Alabama, The City of Anniston, and Anniston First United Methodist Church. These essential partners created Martha’s Hope: The Martha Vandervoort Center to End Homelessness.
Honoring the legacy of the late director of Interfaith Ministries of Calhoun County, who was a passionate advocate for our homeless neighbors, Martha’s Hope will provide emergency and transitional housing for men, women, and families experiencing temporary or chronic homelessness. Martha’s Hope will give overnight emergency housing for up to 36 individuals and includes two family suites for those facing homelessness resulting from emergent crises such as eviction, job loss, trafficking, and other precipitating events. In addition, the facility will include a transitional living floor named after a relentless champion of under-resourced families and individuals, Maudine Holloway, who continues to serve our community as the Director of Community Enabler Developer. This transitional living center, known as The Holloway House, will allow up to 40 individuals, including two families, a safe place to work toward permanent housing, develop self-sufficiency and receive coordinated care and services to ensure they successfully attain their goals.