As we move into 2018, the opioid crisis continues to grow, as well as addiction to methamphetamines, alcohol, and various other mind-altering substances. We see billboards popping up declaring war on addiction. Recovery support groups grow in number and influence. We hear more and more frequently about major drug busts involving fentanyl, meth, marijuana, and other drugs. But there is hope.
In !965 Bill Barton Sr. founded the Home of Grace in Vancleave, MS. When he started out he had two mobile homes and a piece of land beside a creek, out in the woods. There is no way he could have known then what his vision would eventually become.
Today, the Home of Grace has two campuses. In 2009 the men’s campus completed a project that moved most of the campus from the creek bank, up the hill. There was always a problem with flooding because of its location in a low-lying area next to the creek. The move up the hill put everything out of the flood zone, except the chapel. The men’s campus is now located up the hill from the original campus, in Vancleave, and the women’s campus is located off of Martin Bluff road in Gautier. Since its inception the Home of Grace has helped almost 40,000 people, from 49 of the 50 states.
Some people might think it would be enough to simply maintain what they have, but that is not the case. Plans are now actively being worked on to increase the size, capacity, and effectiveness of the Home of Grace for years to come. While the men’s campus has a capacity of 120 clients, and the women a capacity of 40, there is always need for more.
The Home of Grace is currently run by Josh Barton, grandson of Bill Barton Sr. His brother Clay Barton works alongside him. I recently spoke with Clay about the future of the Home of Grace, and asked him to detail for me any upcoming plans for the Home of Grace. Clay was kind enough to give me some time and do just that. Below is a series of questions and answers from that conversation.
What upcoming plans are there for the two campuses?
“Our men’s campus project is more of a completion and expansion project that includes moving the chapel up the hill. We’ve been at capacity and running a wait list for some time now. We also need more classroom and office space. Also, our women’s campus is currently located in an area growing in crime rates, violence, and drug activity. Additionally, the facilities were not originally designed for residential recovery, which presents crowded living spaces, and less then ideal accommodations.”
I’ve heard about upcoming projects involving a new chapel on the men’s campus, up the hill with the rest of the campus, and a new women’s campus. How will that impact the Home of Grace’s ability to accomplish its mission?
“These two projects will allow us to increase our capacity to help more men and women struggling with addiction, and do so in an environment more conducive to safe rehabilitation.”
Are there any other building projects planned within the next 5 years?
“There are two possible capital opportunities coming up, in addition to what I’ve already discussed. 1) We may look to relocate the administrative offices to an offsite location which will free up office space on the main campus. 2) We were blessed by a very large donation of gym equipment, enough to furnish both campuses with a workout facility.”
What do you hope any new building projects will help the Home of Grace accomplish that it cannot currently accomplish?
The demand for addiction recovery continues to climb. While we are doing our best to meet this need, we are limited with the space given. These projects will serve as a giant leap forward into the future, guided by our vision to be the leader in successful recovery, by introducing Jesus Christ as the catalyst for hope, healing, and quality of life.”
What can the community do to help? Who do they contact if they’d like to help?
“We need the community to recognize the very real, and growing, opioid crisis facing our nation, and to prayerfully consider supporting our cause financially.Donations offer hope for those lost in the shadows of addiction by providing life-saving scholarships, making crucial recovery affordable. Anyone interested in investing in our capital projects, or donating to the scholarship fund, can call 228-826-5283, or visit www.homeofgrace.org”