This past year the Watauga Crisis Assistance Network (WeCAN) observed its eleventh year of helping community neighbors in crisis. Conceived, organized and funded by the faith community in 2002, WeCAN serves as a clearing house of benevolence assistance and crisis services for Watauga County residents.
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In The Beginning
The problem of homelessness gained local recognition 30+ years ago as downtown merchants noted individuals sleeping in nearby woods and loitering about during business hours. In 1981 the Boone Coalition of Churches, consisting of Grace Lutheran, Boone United Methodist, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, St. Luke's Episcopal and St. Elizabeth's came together and identified the need for a true shelter.
After a period of temporary shelter in the six local churches, a more permanent solution, Hospitality House of the Boone Area, Inc. opened to shelter the homeless in early 1985. The original Hospitality House Shelter, located on King Street in downtown Boone, was built in 1917 and given as a gift from an anonymous doner in 1984.