The Life Center was situated in Houston’s oldest black community, known as “freedman’s town”. This area is impoverished and besieged by crime and homelessness. Pastor Winston James, being led of The Lord Jesus, and inspired by the needs of people in that area, developed the idea to open a shelter for homeless men. Pastor James enlisted the help of Rev. Vince Thompson. Rev. Thompson in turn gathered a group of dedicated individuals, professionals in diverse fields, who have donated their time in an effort to make The Ministry of Jesus Christ and Life Center a reality.
The Life Center non-profit corporation was formed under the name of Ministry of Jesus Christ and Life Center. The Board of Directors consisted of 5 persons. In addition, three members of The Life Center program have the opportunity to serve as volunteer board members while they are in the program. The program is designed to be “for us, by us” in the sense that the center is not only founded by an ex-street dweller, but for the first time in Houston’s history, it is also ran by ex-street dwellers.
Our team of helpers have been meticulously put together after meeting certain criteria. Originally, the board met every two weeks to attain the goals outlined herein. The board’s initial task was the renovation of the buildings to fit the needs and requirements of a residential facility. Through the solicitation of funds, the building was renovated following the lead of master architect, Burt Ison. Much of the fund solicitation was accomplished through the hard work of Rev. Thompson.
Between 1996 and 1997, after 6.5 years of helping people, The Life Center started making plans to move from 817 W. Dallas to 2301 Caroline St. with the assistance of attorney Christian Hill and Dr. M. Plumber. The Life Center was blessed with a loan for $250,000.00, which enabled them to buy a 10,000 sq. ft. facility with 30 years to pay off the loan.
In 2000, The Life Center had to relocate from the Downtown headquarters. The property at 2301 Caroline St. was sold for $450,000.00.
The Life Center paid off all it’s debt and purchased the property at 4516 Old Yale St., 4517 Yale St., 4519 Yale St. and 4523 Yale St. Finally, The Life Center has a permanent home where up to 70 of Houston’s homeless can be served. The main campus is 4/10 of an acre. In 2007, The Life Center paid off its property’s balloon note, and is debt-free. The most recent update is that all old construction is completed. We have received certificates of occupancy for all of our facilities. The Multi-Purpose Annex Facility is completed and it is very beautiful.
In 2011, God blessed us to grow and expand The Life Center vision, which is called: The Life Center’s Hope Village. Hope Village has a commercial kitchen/multi- purpose cafeteria, additional living space for the homeless (Sara’s House), and staff housing. In December 2015, The Life Center’s new property, known as Hope Village, has been paid off in full.