29ºF

Hope Center in Roanoke served with lease non-renewal

Center has to be completely moved out by the end of August.

ROANOKE, Va. – A place that takes care of disadvantaged children has been blindsided by the landlord. He is refusing to renew the lease leaving the Hope Center with few options and lots of questions.

"They take care of kids really good. This place is my whole heart and I wish it would never go down," said Camillia.

10-year-old Camillia is concerned that the Hope Center in Roanoke, a place she looks forward to coming every day, may have to close its doors. On Monday, the center received a certified letter, stating that the lease would not be renewed and Hope Center volunteers had about 30 days to move out.

"It was a total shock. We went from working together, paying for things for us to be here forever to sending me a letter," said Grover Price, Hope Center director. 

Price said he had just been working with the city and the building's landlord to add a door inside, bringing the building up to code. Now Price and Hope Center volunteers are wondering how they will keep serving meals and giving local kids a safe place to play.

"Whether you like me, what I do or what I say, you have to respect and love what's going on in this building and this is who you're hurting. You're not hurting me," said Price. 

"They love being here and I guess they don't know what their future would be or where they would really end up going because their parents are working parents," said Karen Smith, a volunteer at the Hope Center. 

The decision was delivered on paper, but the effects of the decision are hitting home here at Hope Center lunch tables, where kids are making friends and enjoying a free bite to eat.\

"Sad, nervous and mad," said Cordell.

"I'd be sad because I ain't going to have nowhere to eat at," said Sirr.

"Monday is the day where everybody is excited because they came back to the Hope Center. And when we go back home, the only thing we do is talk about the Hope Center," said Chantz.

"Mad and sad at the same time. Because when I go home, I'm just going to be sitting on my bed, doing nothing," said Choyce. 

WSLS attempted to contact the Hope Center's landlord, but he has not returned a request for comment.