HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Ninety thousand people per year are leaning on Open Door Ministries in High Point for help.

For more than three decades, the organization has provided food and shelter for people in the homeless community.

The space is limited, and officers with the High Point Police Department said it’s led to an increase in calls for them to respond to help homeless people. Most of the calls are about substance abuse, trespassing and theft.

Captain Chris Weisner said more of the people using our streets as their homes are committing crimes, which is creating a poor perception of the city.

“There’s got to be a location where they can easily get to,” Capt. Weisner said.

Weisner has become familiar with people facing homelessness in High Point.

“A lot of these people don’t have access to mental health,” he said. “They don’t have access to dental care. They don’t have access to medical care. They have no resources to help them find a job.”

He’s spent time talking to the men and women he’s seen panhandling or sleeping on sidewalks.

“The need is increasing, so you’re seeing more and more people on the streets,” said Ryan Ross, executive director of Open Door Ministries.

For more than a year, Ross has worked to find a bigger space to house those facing homelessness. He wants a new 50,000-square-foot facility in High Point.

He’s securing funding to create a center, which will triple his current space. It will be open all week during the day and offer showers, meals and hygiene products. Ross also wants to educate the people who walk through the doors.

“We’re going to try to partner with community colleges to help people find stable employment, resume writing courses, all of those kinds of things, budgeting workshops,” he said.

Weisner hopes it will help cut down on the number of calls the department gets.

“In the long run, hopefully, it will benefit us, but more importantly, it’s going to benefit them,” Weisner said.

Where this shelter is built will be key. Ross has to consider a place people can get to and an area people won’t protest it.

“On Brentwood Drive in High Point, there are a couple of locations…just a couple different places people have reached out to us they want us to look at,” he said.

Wherever it ends up, the goal is to have 100 to 125 beds.  

“In my opinion, this is long overdue,” Weisner said.

Open Door Ministries has a shelter waitlist of 60 people and serves food to an extra 15 to 25 families every day.

Guilford County commissioners approved $2 million for the new center.

Ross has also secured some grants. He’s now working to raise $12 million to have this new center up and running within the next 18 to 24 months.