According to G2 Ministries and the G2 House board members, there is a need for more shelter for the homeless in the city.
In their third attempt at restarting a men’s shelter in Graham, the ministry, along with volunteers and sponsorships from churches and organizations, have been successful at keeping a men’s shelter in Graham going for three months.
G2 (God and Graham) Ministries creator Dr. Jeff Gilberston and Sydney Paulson partnered with Gary Elrod, pastor of Faith Center, and have kept the men’s shelter, located at Plum and First streets, open for men who are homeless, struggling from addiction recovery or who have just been released from jail and are getting back on their feet. G2 House Director Bryan Bivins and assistant director Bobbie Brown volunteer their time in keeping the shelter organized and in good shape. In addition to providing a place for men to lay their head, the facility also serves as a place for addicts to recover through a 12-step program, prayer and devotionals.
“We’ve actually taken in a lot of guys, and a lot of guys come and go,” Bivins said. “It’s Christ-based, faith-based. Ultimately, what we’re doing is trying to get people on their feet. We’re not a full-blown rehab or something like that.”
Bivins said that most of the men they take in are from the Graham area.
“We got a guy that came in a couple days ago who was down on his luck, lost his job, had problems and couldn’t pay his rent,” Bivins said. “I got him in an interview, and he’s going to get a new job. We make sure they’re clean and sober, take care of medical problems. We’ve got a doctor on staff.”
Food, electricity, bedding, clothing and services provided by the G2 House and G2 Ministries are paid for by donations and sponsorships through churches and individuals. The monthly cost per person to stay at the house is approximately $200.
“If (a newcomer) knows that someone will sponsor them in the house for $200 a month, they can stay a few nights, a few months, whatever we need to do,” Bivins said. “Every case is different. Everything is given to us by donation. Our entire ministry is funded by love offerings. It’s been tough because the word is just getting out.”
Like with any recovery facility or shelter, the G2 House has rules.
“There is no smoking, tobacco, drugs or alcohol — it is a Christian environment,” Bivins said. “We require them to find a church and attend it. We volunteer two days a week at the food bank, and two days we get them hooked up with the city and Keep Graham Beautiful.”
Although the house has been a useful facility to distraught men, it isn’t big enough to house everyone in need. Approximately 15-20 homeless or recovering men have stayed at the G2 House within three months.
“There’s a tremendous amount of people in town with homelessness,” Bivins said.
G2 Ministries tries not to turn anyone away from the G2 House; however, they have turned on person away because they were at full capacity. The ministry has looked at larger facilities, including the empty Graham Living Center. The building, which is owned by Senior Living Properties, is tied up in a bankruptcy suit and currently unattainable. Elrod, Gilbertson and Bivins all agree that while having a facility in Graham is beneficial, they would like to have a facility on the outskirts of Graham to appeal to the tri-county area of Stephens, Jack and Young.
“(We would like to) have a larger facility that would be in a safer situation, per say, for men getting out of jail that are a little rougher,” Gilbertson said, adding that G2 Ministries plans to coordinate with Turning Point to help addicts in their recovery process.
In the future, G2 Ministries hopes to help the homeless in general.
“We would love to branch out other than just men,” Elrod said. “We would love to help families eventually, as well as women. My heart is to minister to the city and help any way we can. We’re trying to get up foster care as well, and this is kind of a neutral area that would help in reconciling families and helping people put their lives back together.”
Future plans also include opening up sister facilities in neighboring towns.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from people that don’t currently live in Graham, and we have been very careful not to bring in more than what we’re able to handle here in Graham,” Gilbertson said. “By taking the ministry to these other locations I feel like every town ought to have their own way of ministering to this (kind of) population.”
G2 Ministries is seeking mentors to work with men at the G2 House.
“We want to get these guys plugged into as many outreach organizations as we can (get them connected to),” Bivins said.
The G2 House is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and accepts men from any walk of life. For more information about G2 Ministries or to donate or sponsor a resident, call Gilbertson at 940-521-9917.