Project Hope for the Homeless held a special Christmas in July breakfast and public open house from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday July 27 at the shelter.

More than 60 people attended the Christmas in July event and more than a dozen area churches collaborated with Project Hope for the Homeless to fill Christmas stockings with donations that were dropped off either before or at the event and were displayed by a Christmas tree inside the shelter.

Tours of the shelter, located at 25 Freedom Road, were available for the public to interact with staff to learn more about the services Project Hope for the Homeless provides to guests and to discover the range of available volunteer opportunities.

Painesville Township Trustee Gabe Cicconetti (left) dressed as Summer Santa and greets guests at Project Hope for the Homeless’ Christmas in July breakfast and open house event at the shelter on July 27, 2019.

Painesville Township Trustee Gabe Cicconetti welcomed and entertained guests as he was dressed as “Summer Santa” and was decked out in a Santa hat, beard, along with a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, to greet guests as they arrived inside the shelter.

Painesville Township Trustee Gabe Cicconetti dressed as Summer Santa shows some of the donations received from Project Hope for the Homeless’ Christmas in July breakfast and open house event at the shelter on July 27, 2019.

“This was a fun way to involve the community with Gabe Cicconneti, Painesville Township trustee, as Santa,” said Judy Burr, executive director of Project Hope for the Homeless. “New or interested persons received tours and we had various denominations collecting goods and funds to continue operations throughout the summer months. This goes a long way in meeting the needs of those we serve.” 

It is also important to note that Project Hope for the Homeless has expanded its services in 2019 and now offers these four programs:

  • Adult shelter: an overnight shelter for up to 38 adults
  • Families Moving Forward: a daytime and evening shelter for families in a separate wing of the shelter for up to 12 people
  • Hope House: an offsite 24-hour senior transitional home that began operation in April for up to three guests who are 65 and older
  • Aftercare: a voluntary support program for former guests that has reduced recidivism rate to less than 10%

There also are four ways for the public to connect to support Project Hope including volunteering, giving (money or goods), providing meals, and participating in special projects.

Last year, the organization served 471 guests including 65 children. Through June 2019, 275 guests have received care with 89 percent success rate of shelter guests transitioning into housing or treatment within 23 days.

“Anyone who knows the serious barriers our guests face knows this statistic is an absolute miracle,” Burr said.

The mission of Project Hope is to respond to the human hurts and hopes of people in Lake County who are homeless by providing emergency shelter, care, and guidance in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ. Our staff works with guests to provide proactive solutions to help them reach independence in Lake County. Reservations to stay at Project Hope are handled by calling 211.