Grace Centers of Hope: Expansion & holiday giving underway

Grace Centers of Hope expanding space for children, holiday giving underway

Oakland Press

Pastor Kent Clark, CEO of Grace Centers of Hope, with kids from the nonprofit's childcare program.

Pastor Kent Clark, CEO of Grace Centers of Hope, with kids from the nonprofit’s childcare program.

Grace Centers of Hope is expanding this year, adding more beds and space for families looking to get their lives back on track.

The faith-based, substance use disorder rehabilitation center in Pontiac will be opening a new childcare center before the end of the year while the men’s dormitory is under renovation downtown. The new child center will nearly double the nonprofit’s capacity for children, freeing up beds in the adult living quarters. The $1 million building is located next to the center’s women’s shelter off Woodward Avenue, just a few blocks from the 51-home Little Grace Village, where recovering clients can purchase a house following a one-year program.

“In many ways this has been a wonderful year for us, we have an $8 million budget for 2020,” Pastor Kent Clark, CEO of Grace Centers, said. “But our client base is growing every year, because we’re not winning this war in America when it comes to drug addiction. The idea that homelessness is a housing issue is not correct — It has everything to do with drugs in this country.”

The childcare center, which can house up to 80 kids, will be opening in the next two weeks with a grand opening ceremony planned for spring. Kids at the center will take part in enrichment activities and attend school while their parents work through the Grace Centers life-skills programs.

“About 80 percent of the kids we see haven’t lived in the same place for their whole life. They’ve lived in the backseats of cars and vacant buildings. They’re behind in school. There is a real need for this,” Clark said.

Grace Centers is holding its annual Night of Hope fundraiser this month to raise money for its children’s program. The gala features dinner, silent auctions and live music while giving the audience a chance to hear stories from the program. The event takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, at The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham. Tickets are $145 and can be found at

“The help we receive from Night of Hope allows these families to continue to be together and work towards a healthier relationship,” Traci Cunningham, children’s program director, said. “The most important thing for us is to make sure that families stay together and build those relationships with their kids, as we work to truly change people from the inside out and get their lives on track.”

The daycare program costs about $400,000 annually to operate, according to Clark.

Renovations at the men's dormitory at Grace Centers of Hope.

Renovations at the men’s dormitory at Grace Centers of Hope.

A remodel of the men’s dormitory is currently underway, adding fresh pant and new floorings, updated beds and extra shower room. The nonprofit serves about 100 men and 100 women throughout the year.

Grace Centers of Hope has begun its annual holiday giving program. For Thanksgiving, a $2 donation will buy a holiday meal for a local family in need. The nonprofit distributed over 200,000 meals last year. Families can also be adopted for the holidays, both monetarily and through physical donations of gifts and toys. For information on how to donate contact

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