Hope Haven looking to raise funds to open it's doors, help girls - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Hope Haven looking to raise funds to open it's doors, help girls

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SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - A group working to help girls who have filtered through the foster system into their teens is looking for help to house many of those young women before they age out of the system.

Right now they're looking at property and have found a house they want to purchase.

But the board at Hope Haven needs the money to purchase that house.

They need $375,000 to purchase the house and get an executive director.

They have about $30,000 raised, and plan to rely on donations and fundraisers to get the rest.

"I've had a hard life, I don't have any family. After telling the truth, I lost all that," says Angela Bass.

Bass is 18 years old and has aged out of foster care.

She lives with friends now, but remembers why she was taken out of her home in the first place.

"I've been sexually molested by my dad since I was 5 years old," says Bass.

Bass says it took strong, loving, influential women she met along the way, like Lisa Ferguson and Judge Carol Clark, to get her here.

"If it wasn't for her, or Lisa, or anyone else that helped me go farther in life, I wouldn't be here," says Bass.

"The foster system has been good for what it's done, but the government can't give people love like we do," says Lisa Ferguson, a board member for Hope Haven.

Ferguson has been working for 4 years to get the organization moving forward, and to open a Christian-based home for abused girls ages 13-17.

"The plan is to earn their trust, because they have no trust, and then teach them to get a job, drive, go to college, get a trade of some kind," says Ferguson.

All skills that can impact the girls for the rest of their lives in a positive way, if they just have a stable place to call home.

Ferguson says this would be a first of its kind home in East Texas, and the state is in critical need for foster care.

"Most of the time girls end up on the streets or out and sex trafficked, and we hope to prevent that from happening," says Ferguson.

"I just hope that I keep telling my story and giving other kids hope that there is hope to have a better life. I just want to help them, that's what I want to do," says Bass.

The board hopes to house 14 girls at a time, and says it wouldn't take long to fill those spots.

We're told they'd be selected based on the risks they face and their needs.

They're also working in conjunction with Child Protective Services and shelters in East Texas to select girls who need help.

Members of the group hope to raise the funding in the next 8 months.

Once they purchase the home they would need to complete renovations to bring the home up to code and be granted a charter by the state.

The home would rely on state funding and grants to operate once it was up and running.





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