PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A Pensacola non-profit organization is struggling to stay open as it works to help homeless families. Caleb Houston has a big heart and he struggles to see people and families with nowhere to live.
“That hurts my heart, man, because I can only imagine if that was my family,” said Houston.
Almost two years ago, he created an organization called “There Is Hope.” They help about 20-30 people every day.
“We provide showers, clothes, shoes, undergarments, hygiene products, we do drug and alcohol counseling here, link people to local shelters that we see available, and then we also help people with job opportunities,” said Houston.
The Pensacola City Council planned to give him $100,000 of federal money, but because there’s no sprinkler system inside the building he leases on North Davis Highway, it can’t be set up as a shelter. To install a sprinkler system, it will cost him $105,000.
“Our facility can house almost 100 people in it and it can really make an impact on this issue with homelessness,” said Houston.
Outside his building, there are five wooden huts. He calls it “Huts 4 Our Friends.” He hoped by now he’d have more built and ready to live in. He’s barely hanging on thanks to some donors and he pays for a lot of it out of his own pocket.
“I’ve recently had families…a mother with four children… that had nowhere to go,” said Houston. “To this day, speaking right now, I have about seven families that are sleeping in cars or are sleeping in rooms. We try to help pay for their rooms.”
Houston said his passion stems from his own personal experience.
“I’ve been where a lot of these people are,” said Houston. “I struggled with drug addiction. I also struggled with homelessness and I know what it’s like to want help but the help is just not there.”
The Escambia County commission will be spending up to $4 million to address homelessness. He hopes he can get some of that to keep his doors open.
If you would like to help Houston’s organization, you can visit huts4ourfriends.com. If you would like to donate, you can email email@example.com and the organization’s CashApp is $Huts4.