Shining Star: Local Shelter Celebrates 100 Years

It's been 100 years since Houston's Star of Hope opened its doors, serving tens of thousands of the city's homeless over the years and becoming a beacon of hope for many. As Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports, US Senator John Cornyn was on hand to celebrate a century of service.

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"How long would they stay here?" "It could be six months."

At the Star of Hope's Men's Development Center downtown near Minute Maid Park, Cornyn toured the 70,000 square foot facility that's turned into a temporary home for many of the men there. More than 300 beds are usually filled each night, especially during the winter months when temperatures aften dip into the 20's and 30's. Cornyn says the Star of Hope is more than just about place to sleep.

"It's great to see such hope and such transformation of individual lives as you see right here at the Star of Hope and this is not a government program, but what it demonstrates is if individuals who want to help and who feel a calling to help band together they can really change people's lives and help them turn those around."

The Star of Hope also operates a transitional living center and a women and family facility that includes emergency shelter for children. The rules at all three centers are strict and some homeless clients aren't allowed back in if they break the guidelines.

"It's kind of tough love because you might want to give someone a meal but I think they've used this as an opportunity to help people regain responsibility for their own lives, give them some order when they've known nothing but chaos, whether it's addiction or alcoholism or abusive relationships, to let them know that there is something better."

At all three facilities, nearly 1000 homeless men, women and children are served each day. Star of Hope vice president of development Kathy Tabor says it's a resource that's been supported by Houstonians.

"You just have to think what it would be like in our city if we had 1000 people extra on the streets every night and the women and the children that would be there. I think it's critical to the city and the way that it's been supported over 100 I think says a lot about the goodness of our city, the heart of Houston."

The Star of Hope reaches over 7000 different homeless people every year and serves almost half a million meals.

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