mission. history. program.
As time passed, sometime later, Jim received a call one Saturday around 4:30 am from a High Point Fire Captain asking if he knew the phone number of Leslie's parents because she had died. Heroin and crack cocaine were rampant in the area at the time. From this point on, the burden for a single women's shelter was carried. West End Ministries was being built up and we were serving as life, hardship and trauma were happening around us.
Pastor Jim shared, "We have to meet people where they are in their heart and mind. It's the only way we can minister to them. As you can imagine, people on the streets and those coming from traumatic situations don't understand or always think reasonably. They are often a mess. We, sometimes, have to love people a long time before they can even get to the point of healing and change. Others need mental health or drug treatment referrals, some have simply hit a road bump, have health issues or are starting over having fled bad situations and need resources, training and monetary assistance to get back on their feet. All need care and love which is what led West End Ministries and friends towards the creation of Leslie’s House.” Somewhere around 2003-2004, the West End Food Ministry began at English Road Baptist and, especially in the winter months, they noticed an increasing number of women coming in who had nowhere to go. During those years, Pastor Jim and others would try to find safe places for homeless single women to sleep and give them thick, large furniture boxes to provide shelter when the women couldn't sleep indoors. It was as ridiculous as it reads. The men's shelter was open, but, again, nothing for single women. High Point Community Against Violence, a partner non-profit, was also being birthed to assist law enforcement and the community.
Becky Yates, of Caring Services, was also concerned as she knew the stories of women who were coming to her for drug treatment. At the same time, a group of pastors and concerned citizens were meeting at Emerywood Baptist about the state of homelessness, crime and drugs in the area. It was a beautiful thing that people were coming together to do something. After various conversations, Jim, Becky and others decided to take action. Michelle McNair, with the city of High Point, helped provide the initial funds. The West End Ministries Community Center was open at the time so the decision was made to open the initial women's shelter for single women in the center basement on January 15, 2006. Small cards were distributed inviting women in need. On January 23, 2006, on Pastor Jim's birthday, as he was eating dinner with his daughter, the first women called in. Becky would spend the night until more volunteers were recruited. Missy* (name changed) was the first woman who stayed in the shelter and, today, Becky and Jim still encourage her having "adopted" her as family.
Not until December 7, 2007 did Leslie's House open having raised funds for the construction of the house. High Point community members stepped in to help with funding and volunteer efforts.
Today Leslie’s House offers 22 beds (14 during COVID-19 regulations), hot meals, clothing, case management, Life Skills classes and, most importantly, hope. Residents have a safe and nurturing place to stay while stabilizing their lives and making plans for the future. Leslie's House Women's Winter Shelter offers the ability to reach more women during those cold winter months.
Residents meet regularly with the Leslie’s House Case Managers to determine their personalized plan of action. The Case Manager makes residents aware of resources and aids them in navigating the path towards permanent housing with goal setting and completion. A counselor is also available to help navigate healing.