Local Shelter Back in Business

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 06/24 2014 04:15PM

Updated 06/24 2014 05:58PM

ALTOONA - Nearly two years ago a lack of funding forced the Altoona Rescue Mission to shut it's doors, now they're back in business thanks in part to one man who traveled across the country to help.
Jared Bowling knows what it's like to hit rock bottom, and be helped back up.
“Me, my wife and daufghter decided to come out here and help and being a recovering addict myself to try to help other people like someone else helped me,” Jared Bowling, Director, Altoona Rescue Mission says.
Bowling had been working with inner-city teens in San Diego, when heard about the need in Altoona.
“The men are staying in houses going from couch to couch so you don't see it like you do in other cities but there's a great need,” Bowling says.
Since 1927 the Altoona Rescue Mission has given homeless men in the region a place to stay, a good meal, and potentially a fresh start.
But a fire in 2004, followed by piles of debt forced the shelter to close in 2012.
Since then Clair Chappell has been working to bring it back to life.
“It was a great challenge. That's one thing for sure. It challenged me along with a lot of people in the community,” Clair Chappell, Altoona Rescue Mission says.
The building has been fixed up and now the center can house up to 15 men at a time.
And after officially opening on June 16th, they've been plenty busy.
“It's a real joy to see this happen and have the rescue mission happen. The phone has been ringing off the hook,” Chappell says.
For bowling, the decision to move across the country and take on this challenge was easy, but he says it won't last without a little help.
“If the community doesn't get behind us financially or provides food, no shelter would be able to have any kind of longevity,” Bowling says.
Bowling estimates it'll cost about $4,000 a month to keep the shelter running. They're still looking for donations. You can help by contacting the Altoona Rescue Mission at 814-201-2434.

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