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Shelter’s programs turned her life around

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Video of the summer party benefiting HOPE Ministries.


POSTED June 22, 2012 1:30 a.m.

Judith Blount is an employed and productive taxpaying citizen who helps others.

It was a different story seven years ago.

She was homeless with eight kids, had a drug habit, and unemployed.

“I did whatever I needed to do - cheat, steal - to support my habit and get food for my kids,” she said.

Then a miracle happened. She spent two months at the HOPE Family Shelter.

“It helped turn my life around,” Blount said of her stay in the shelter at Yosemite and Sequoia avenues.

During her stay, Blount made avail of counseling services that not only helped her learn how to handle her money better and to develop skills needed to hold a job but to also grow as a person and develop self-esteem.

“It (the stay at HOPE Shelter) taught me self-respect and integrity,” Mount said. “I didn’t even know what integrity was.”

Blount got her life in order. She landed jobs at Starbucks and a movie house. Her children are enjoying success.  She’s also active in the Northgate Community Church

Blount’s still employed but her job today is helping others struggling to get on their feet as a member of the HOPE Ministries staff.

And her attitude now toward life: “it’s great.”

Blount was among those helping out Thursday at the HOPE Ministries biggest fundraisers of the year - a summer garden party at the rural south Manteca home of Bob and Laurie Raymus.

Bob Raymus serves on the HOPE Ministries board.

“That’s why I do this,” Raymus said in reference to Blount’s success story.

HOPE Ministries has a 70 percent plus success rate for those who complete their two-month stays at either the HOPE Family Shelter or the Raymus House for mothers and children. By success, that means they are able to stand on their own financially.

Thursday’s party was expected to raise between $10,000 and $12,000 for the operation of the shelters That is about a 12th of the $120,000 the non-profit agency founded by a coalition of Manteca Ministerial Association churches 20 years ago needs to raise each year. It is in addition to $30,000 they receive from federal sources. That means 80 percent of the budget has to come through private sector donations.

More than 2,000 people including children have been helped by the shelter during the past two decades. The majority of those who turn to the shelter for help have jobs.

The reason HOPE enjoys a higher success rate than many other shelters is the fact they have mandatory classes plus allow those they shelter to stay there for 60 to 90 days treating it as their home instead do being forced out every day onto the street and not allowed back in until a certain time.

The classes include parenting kids and parents counseling done separately, and lifestyle lessons including how to manage and budget money.

Psychologist Judith West with years of dealing with the homeless and their issues oversees the program with help from interns from places such as California State University at Turlock.

The shelter is a stickler for drug testing.  Those who get in have to be clean and stay clean.

There are 23 apartments between three shelters. Six are in transitional housing where families can stay up to two years. Seven are in the HOPE Family Shelter at Yosemite and Sequoia avenues, and nine at the Raymus House on South Union Road.

Raymus House and HOPE Shelter have a 90-day maximum stay. HOPE Shelter is designed for families and Raymus House accommodates mothers and children.

Raymus House is limited by the bathroom facilities making it impractical to allow men or boys over 12 to stay there.

If you would like to make a donation or assist HOPE Family Shelter in some way call 824-0658 or 824-3080.

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