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No Barrier Women's shelter hopes to address underserved homeless population

“Our goal is to end homelessness for the person standing in front of us.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn — For some people in need, finding a place to call home can be difficult, even during the holidays.  According to the National Alliance To End Homelessness, there were more than 1,000 people homeless on any given night in Shelby County. Shelters can offer somewhere to stay, but some of them in the Memphis area are not designed for women. The Hospitality Hub was brought into existence to help fight this, with the goal to help its residence create a better life.

“Our goal is to end homelessness for the person standing in front of us,” said Jessica Houari, The Hospitality Hub Director of Program Operations.

It’s been just over a month since the Hub opened its doors.  It houses the first no-barrier women’s shelter in the region, helping serve as a new option for an underserved segment in the community.

“We didn’t have enough beds for women and women with children,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

“Of the shelter resources, a majority of those are for the male population.  Of about 30 percent of the homeless population here in Memphis is comprised of women, however, prior to us opening, only six percent of shelter beds were for women.  At any given time we have 36 to 40 women and children staying with us,” said Houari.

No barriers mean there’s no ID needed, or any employment or criteria to stay at the Hub.  Once someone walks in, the Hospitality Hub gets to work immediately.  It partners residents with case workers to help set goals and get the care they need, from finding a home, a job, or taking a trip to the Hub’s in-house salon.

“Hospitality Hub not only is going to provide a place to stay warm or cool, but they’re going to try and work with these individuals get to a situation where they have a home,” says Strickland.

“It’s really led by our guests.  It’s not for us to determine what somebody needs, it’s up to us to help them solve some of the issues that they’re facing,” says Houari.

The shelter was designed with trauma informed care techniques in mind to help create a safe, calming and healing environment for anyone hoping to create a brighter future.

“Anyone is welcome who is seeking emergency shelter, as long as we have placement and availability for them, if we do not we will work to find them other emergency shelter options. It is simply, we have availability, you have a need of emergency shelter and so we will want to welcome you in.  Come to the Hub, let us see what we can do to help,” says Houari.

The Hospitality Hub was also designed as a warming and cooling center for the Memphis area.  Last week it helped keep more than 400 people warm.  The Hospitality Hub is at 590 Washington Avenue.  You can contact them at (901) 730-1736 or info@hospitalityhub.org

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