NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For over 40 years Godtel helped the homeless from the former Redland Hotel in the Nacogdoches downtown district.
Now, Godtel is on a 29-acre-site, a mile and a half west of downtown.
On Wednesday, celebration was in order for a couple of reasons,
Godtel directors June and Nancy Gentry gave a cheer and a sigh of relief. Their perseverance and faith led to a new home for those who are without. It was kind of like moving a family.
"Three weeks ago, when we brought everybody here, it was pandemonium and chaos," said June Gentry. "We didn't think we would get through the first night."
Twenty-two residents and staff moved out of the three-story former Redland Hotel.
"It's much better," June Gentry said. "I'm so glad to be out of that old building."
At the same time, a Nacogdoches buyer can't wait to take ownership of the old, but structurally sound building. Papers will be signed by the end of the month.
"My understanding from them is downstairs will be a restaurant, and the upstairs will be apartments or some type of boutique hotel," said Ed Pool, a realtor.
The property listed at $400,000.
"That's going to pretty much, maybe not totally, but mostly pay for the women's dorm, and I'm glad to turn that money around and put it into that other dormitory," June Gentry said.
Construction on the second building begins this week.
It will be just like the men's dorm, which was made possible through a $600,000 grant from the Charles and Lois Marie Bright Foundation.
Each building, complete with a laundry, can house up to 52 residents. All residents are sharing the dining room and chapel.
"I look at a place like this like it is somebody's house," said Jerry, a resident. "You invite me to your house, you let me stay, you feed me, you provide for me, and in turn, I show my gratefulness by helping in whatever means I can."
Gratitude comes from the Gentrys too.
"We never had any fundraisers," June Gentry said. "We don't take any government money. And I don't know what to tell you. People say, 'How did you do it?' We didn't.
"It's a God thing," Nancy Gentry said.
Godtel residents are walking, using bicycles, and riding the bus to go to work or apply for jobs. Their route will be on the Douglass Highway.
Motorists are advised to use caution because some will be returning to the shelter after dark.