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Hope Cottages - beginnings till now...

A brief History

Dolly Garrison

President of Arkansas association for children with learning disabilities

Coordinated the Picasso program for four years in Boone County to house the homeless.

In the fall of 2014, three women, Dolly Garrison, Shirley Smothers and Arah Dean Turner, met to discuss what could be done to help homeless women and children in the Harrison area. Both Dolly and Arah Dean are members of St John's Episcopal Church, and they both thought that the former St John's Day School, on the church property, would be the perfect location to become a transitional housing facility to temporarily house women and their children. The property had been vacant for a number of years, and would take extensive remodeling, but it had the potential to provide room for eight ‘cottages’ (classrooms to be remodeled into apartments called cottages), plus kitchen, laundry, and common areas for classes, storage, and a playground. The women were soon joined by Travis Turner and Bill Kneip. Travis set about compiling the cost for each component of the remodeling. The total cost is estimated to be just under $400,000.00

They were joined by attorney, Steve Davis, and work began on preparing an Option to Lease and Lease that could be presented to the local St John's Vestry and Father Greg Hoover. Bishop Larry Benfield, of the Episcopal Diocese, met with Dolly and Arah Dean who explained the scope of the project, and took him on a tour of the buildings. He thought this would be an excellent use for the property, and the program would contribute in assisting the families to have a better life as they transitioned to permanent housing. After presenting the proposal of the project, the Option to Lease, and Lease to the Episcopal Diocese legal team, approval was finally granted. The Long term Lease would be for ten years at a cost of $10.00 per year, with renewal for another ten years.

Numerous meetings were held with local churches and individuals to discuss the project and get ideas on the operating procedures, client contracts, and church contracts. On March 16, 2017 we had a sponsor appreciation dinner to honor representatives of the five churches and three businesses who each committed to finance the monthly operating cost of $500 for one of the eight cottages.

Shirley Smothers

Has been the Harrison School District Homeless Liaison for 11 years.

She works on several committees in the community assisting with homeless issues, seeking to bridge the gap between homelessness and education so students are able to learn and stay in school.

Arah Dean Turner

Helping with Housing needs for over 45 years as a proud Realtor and Landlord.

After becoming aware of the project, Jay Stallard of the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, Inc, applied for a Community Block Grant for $86,000.00 through the City of Harrison. We were recently awarded the full amount toward remodeling. Currently we are working on raising the remainder of the funds needed, and plan to start construction by January 1, 2018.

The original steering committee recently added two additional members, Foppe VanderZwaag, and David Holsted. This dedicated committee has been meeting almost weekly since it was formed early in 2015.

Steering Committee members

Please feel free to contact any of our Steering Committee members if you have any questions about Hope Cottages
  • Shirley Smothers:
    (870) 577-5635
  • Dolly Garrison:
    (870) 391-5906
  • Arah Dean Turner:
    (870) 391-1820
  • Stephanie Jean Hankins:
    (870)-416-2468
  • Bill Kneip:
    (870) 715-2467
  • Steve Davis:
    (870) 741-4646
  • Foppe Vanderzwaag:
    (870) 741-4207
  • Roy Thomas:
    (870) 688-0861
-  "Dear Children, let's not merely say that we love each other, let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18  -

Hope Cottages is a project of Harrison House of Hope, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization
PO Box 1645, Harrison AR, 72602