In The Beginning
The problem of homelessness gained local recognition in the late 1970's as downtown merchants noted individuals sleeping in nearby woods and loitering about during business hours. In 1981 the Boone Coalition of Churches, consisting of Grace Lutheran, Boone United Methodist, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, St. Luke's Episcopal, The Boone Jewish Community and St. Elizabeth of the Hill Country came together and identified the need for a true shelter.
After a period of temporary shelter in the six local churches, a more permanent solution, Hospitality House of the Boone Area, Inc. was incorporated on September 7, 1984. Soon after, the doors at 302 W. King Street were opened to house homeless people. That original location in downtown Boone, was built in 1917 and given as a gift from an anonymous donor in 1984.
In 1991 the property at 494 W. King Street, christened "Sleeping Place," was acquired and used to start the Transitional Housing Program. Around this same time Rock House Annex, which sat up on the hill behind the original house was acquired to meet the needs of homeless families. In 1995, recognizing the increased need throughout the High Country, Hospitality House opened its doors to homeless citizens from Ashe, Avery and Wilkes counties.
As the face of homelessness continued to change, Hospitality House once again answered the call. Rock Haven, a house containing eight efficiency units with shared dining, living and kitchen areas, was built from the ground up and opened its doors on June 12, 2003 to serve people living with disabilities in the Permanent Supportive Housing Program.
The Balance of State Continuum of Care was created by North Carolina in 2005 in order to help rural communities apply for Continuum of Care funding from HUD. This designation not only expanded the service area of Hospitality House to include Alleghany, Mitchell, and Yancey counties, but allowed the agency to apply for increased federal grant funding. Hospitality House continues to serve as the point-of-entry for all homeless services in these seven counties.
Making the Move
On March 19, 2011, after years of fundraising and months of construction, the doors to the brand new Hospitality House were open. Residents, staff, board members, and community volunteers all pitched in to make the massive move-in a success. This new facility combined five housing programs – Winter Seasonal Shelter, Emergency Housing, Transitional Housing, Family Housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing – under one roof along with the Bread of Life Community Kitchen, Food Pantry, and Food Access programs.
That’s Not All
In our ongoing quest to end homelessness, Hospitality House added Scattered Site Housing and Rapid Rehousing programs not long after moving into the facility. Scattered Site Housing now consists of fifteen (15) leased properties (apartments, homes and duplexes) in Watauga and Wilkes counties providing stability and case management for families and individuals with disabilities or mental illness. We are seeking to further expand this program in Wilkes and into Ashe county.
Rapid Rehousing provides financial assistance and services to prevent families from becoming homeless and help those who are homeless to be quickly re-housed.
In 2019 we legally changed our name to Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina to more accurately reflect the counties and communities that we serve.
In 2020 we again expanded our reach into Wilkes County with the management acquisition of Wintergreen - a home with seven efficiency apartments added to our Permanent Supportive Housing portfolio.
Additionally, we opened our Watauga Housing & Outreach Center at 160 Den-Mac Drive in Boone, allowing us to convert the conference room and outer offices at Brook Hollow into additional dorm, increasing our number of beds by 34.
In 2022 we opened our Wilkes Housing & Outreach Center at 1904 W. Park Drive in North Wilkesboro.
Giving Hope a Hand
In 2007, after undergoing an organizational assessment that included the original house and two additional downtown buildings being used to provide Transitional and Family housing, the board of directors embarked on an ambitious Capital Campaign - Giving Hope a Hand - to raise $3.5 million in funds necessary for a new 18,500 square foot facility. In addition to the Capital Campaign, chaired by John & Faye Cooper and Kent & Shelley Tarbutton, the Town of Boone by annexing services and Watauga County through a land grant, were instrumental in making this possible.
Where We've Been to, Where We Are
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