New facility for Huntsville homeless community under construction

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 4:05 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A new facility for non-profit organization First Stop is underway. The building will serve Huntsville’s homeless community with necessities, critical services and support to get them back on their feet.

In 2021, Huntsville was recognized as the largest city in Alabama but as the population grows, the city’s homeless population grows.

First Stop Director Jennifer Geist says her organization sees a need in the community and is now building a new facility to address the issue.

“Sadly the homeless community grows as the city grows,” Geist said. “We’re really looking at a multidisciplinary approach where someone from the homeless community can come here and really get a lot of the needs taken care of.”

The new 9,500 square foot facility will provide indoor dining, showers, laundry services, a medical and mental health clinic, as well as the opportunity for people to be a part of First Stop’s case management program, where they will receive one-on-one services to help them get back on their feet.

“We don’t think anyone should be in a state of homelessness,” Geist said. “I am very grateful that I have a bed to sleep in every night but I have 150 people every day coming to our facility who can’t say that so that troubles me. This is a place where people can come and just the services and the help they need. If they want it, we are here for them.”

Geist said in the last five years, Huntsville’s homeless population has increased by nearly 30 percent. She hopes First Stop’s new facility will help show homeless people that the organization is here to help.

“Nothing is going to happen to them while they are here,” Geist said. “We sort of provide that protection for them, but as well as a community of people that really are passionate about helping them, I mean that’s why we’re here.”

The facility is expected to be completed in September 2023. To learn more about First Stop, click here.

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