CRESTVIEW — When Rev. Dr. Charles E. Salis Jr decided to start Bright Futures Ministries, he had one Bible verse on his mind — Matthew chapter 25, verse 35.
“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home,” the verse reads.
When he moved to Crestview, Salis said he considered opening a church but wanted something that would give back to the community.
Growing up in Detroit, Salis said he noticed many that were homeless or living in poverty.
When he moved to this area, he said he notice an increase in homelessness and poverty. This led to him beginning the Bright Futures ministry along with his wife.
“God must have set it up beforehand,” Salis said.
Currently, Bright Future Ministries accepts and gathers donations, which they hand-deliver to the homeless.
But Salis has a bigger goal for this ministry.
Salis wants to create a 6,000 square-foot homeless shelter on a city-owned piece of property. He said if the city agreed, they would still own the property, but would lease it to him for the purposes of a homeless shelter.
His goal is to build a 50-by-100 steel shelter for the homeless that is hurricane-ready, which would mean they could also use it for a natural disaster shelter.
The homeless shelter would feature five to six family units, 20 beds for women, and 30 beds for men. Salis said they plan to have a commercial kitchen and separated bathrooms with showers.
"We're going to separate it so that everybody still gets their privacy, and everybody gets a little feeling of home," Salis said.
At the shelter, Salis plans to host three- to six-month programs in the shelter including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, parenting classes, homemaking classes and budgeting classes.
Salis also hopes to start small businesses like a mobile car wash where the homeless can get employment experience and better their resumes.
Although the plan is still in the works, Salis said the community can help by donating through the Bright Futures Ministries Facebook page or by putting donations into a box located inside the front door of the Crestview City hall.