CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Good Samaritan Rescue Mission is on the verge of a new home following the Corpus Christi Planning and Zoning Commission's rezone approval of the previous Red Roof Inn on the intersection of Buffalo St. and Nueces Bay Blvd.
“I was holding my breath because we’ve been planning this since 2011," said Carole Murphey, Executive Director of the rescue mission. "Something just kept going wrong. So Wednesday evening they voted yes, that we can be rezoned and all that.”
The mission has been at their Alameda St. location for decades. When they first moved in, Murphey said the building was sandwhiched between a Frito-Lay warehouse and a hotel.
"It was never built to house people like we were," said Murphey. "The hotel was, but it didn’t have that many rooms.”
She said the move would be quite the step up. All that needs to happen is a majority vote to pass the rezone from city council.
“And I'm just praying that the city council will see the value," said Murphey. "This is the perfect place to put it. Because you got the freeway on one side, you got just street—I mean there’s nothing close to us. I pinched myself Wednesday night when they voted yes. I went ‘Ah finally.’ I didn’t realize how much stress i was carrying.”
The hotel is three stories with 87 rooms. The rescue mission can take advantage of the swimming pool, industrial laundry machines and fitness room converted to a lounge area.
Murphey said it all worked out in the end after not securing Lamar Elementary School last year. She said neighbors were concerned with their presence and she was concerned about being that close to residential homes.
“We never dreamed in a million years that we would have something like this," she said. "This is like the promised land. The problem with Lamar was we were completely surrounded. We were blocked in by neighbors. Their houses were just across the street. I was afraid that would not work.”
COVID-19 caused issues for the mission as they looked for a new home. The guidelines put some stress on how many people they could help out.
“It was tough because we’ve been so used to that old building, when people come in and they need something, we don’t like to turn people away," Murphey said. "So we were just putting them anywhere we could. And then when all that hit, it was really hard for me because all these years I would say we turn no one away. And all of a sudden now we can only have half the number of people.”
With the upgraded space they can definitely serve more people. Although they won't reach the possible capacity of 260 people until the pandemic is well over.
“I don’t plan to do that any time soon because first, we don’t know this neighborhood well and they don’t know us at all," she said. "And we want to slowly bring people in. We don’t want to all of a sudden jump our numbers. Because we’ve got to get our protocols in place here, with the people we have now.”
Muphey added she will be moving in with all of her staff. A tidbit she gave about her staff is at one point or another they all have been homeless or struggled with addiction. She hires people who understand what the people they serve are going through.
Should city council pass the rezone, she believes they'll be ready to open by November.