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Hiway 80 Rescue Mission expands services to Tyler

By Angela Ward
Nov. 15, 2011 at 11 p.m.

Hiway 80 Rescue Mission is expanding its services from Longview to Tyler, Executive Director Eric Burger said Tuesday.

"We've actually been working with the homeless there for some time, trying to help them access resources within that community and, when necessary, bringing them to our shelter here," Burger said. "This is a more organized and official effort to start a satellite site there."

A group of concerned Tyler residents, calling themselves Committee for a Rescue Mission for Tyler, has approached Burger seeking his assistance and advice, he said.

"One thing we feel is very important, and which we want people in Longview to be aware of, is that all the money to start the Tyler location is being raised by people in Tyler," Burger said. "The funds that are donated in Longview stay here, to help people in this community."

The Rev. Antonio Christian, a case manager at Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, has been assigned to Tyler to build relationships with the homeless and churches of the Tyler area.

"The first step is forming relationships with the people in Tyler; both the people there who need our help and the Tyler residents who can have the resources to help us with a rescue mission's needs of financial funding and a steady stream of volunteers," Burger said. "After we've got that foundation in place, we'll be looking at actually building a facility."

The goals of the committee are to expand feeding of the homeless, provide spiritual counseling and case management, connect the homeless to services offered by Hiway 80 Rescue Mission in Longview and evaluate the need for a full service rescue mission in Tyler.

"By working with us, they're not starting from scratch," Burger said. "We'll organize the satellite site along the same principles that have worked here in Longview for more than 50 years."



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