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Florence's Hope Village celebrates opening with a chamber ribbon cutting
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Florence's Hope Village celebrates opening with a chamber ribbon cutting

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FLORENCE, S.C. — With a few words, a reading from the Gospel of Matthew, a prayer, an admonition about the sharpness the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce’s ribbon cutting shears and then a quick slice of those shears, Hope Village was officially opened for business Thursday afternoon.

Of course, though, it wasn’t that easy. There were several years of work to get the village of 240-square-foot homes to the ribbon-cutting stage with the whole project paid for at completion.

“This project began as a vision of one, Bryan Braddock, our executive director, spread to a vision of the House of Hope leadership team, then as a vision to the House of Hope board then ultimately as a vision toward our community,” said Dick Powell, secretary for the House of Hope Board of Directors.

“Hope Village is an example of this community’s generosity, their prayers and their hands to accomplish something unique in this region,” Powell said. “To those who gave generously, prayed fervently and worked diligently we want to, as a board, say thank you to you.”

Powell read Matthew 25:35-40 “...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

“Our desire is that through Hope Village many will be fed, many will be welcomed, many will be sheltered and many will be clothed and many people will experience the hope in a life transformed by the Gospel,” Powell said.

“God’s word says I come to prepare a place for you,” Bryan Braddock, executive director for House of Hope said as he alluded to the houses behind him and the many mansions verses from the Gospel of John.

“The idea of a mansion means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. But there are a lot of similarities,” Braddock said. “Your mansion and my mansion may look different but they all include a place of refuge, safety, dignity, some helpers and assistance, fountains, courtyards and beautiful landscapes. It was with these things in mind that we prepared Hope Village for the men, women and children it will serve.”

Baddock said that as the project was nearing completion fundraising was lagging by a “a few hundred thousand dollars.”

“One Sunday morning I get a text, three or four weeks ago, one of our donors said ‘I want to come talk to you, see where you are and see what you need to finish it out,’” Braddock said. “They just wrote a check in excess of that to finish out the project.”

“When I asked them where they wanted their name or how they wanted to be recognized they said that they’ll store up their treasurers somewhere else — and y’all know where that is,” Braddock said.

Braddock said that each of the village’s homes will have a separate address, so that when parents take children to register for school — or any other such errand — the address will not be House of Hope.

“When you have an address you’re not homeless anymore,” Braddock said.

The first house to be fully built out is a handicapped model with others set to be built out in the near future and the first residents to be housed by the end of the year.

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