Housing to help homeless Polk State College students

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Heart for Winter Haven is opening a home for homeless students who attend Polk State College.

For men, especially, housing could be a game-changer because shelters in Winter Haven do not allow men.

"A lot of them sleep in their cars or on benches," Executive Director of Heart for Winter Haven Brad Beatty told FOX 13. "So we want to change that."

When the folks at Living Word of Faith Assemblies of God heard Heart for Winter Haven needed a location for a men's shelter, they offered their parsonage, which was vacant for years.

"I think it's a win-win-win for everyone involved," said Pastor James Arnold.

Over the weekend, more than 60 Rotarians from five clubs showed up to begin the transformation, starting with a fresh coat of paint.

"We had to make extra trips to the hardware store to get enough paintbrushes and rollers to get everyone doing something," said Jane Hammond, president of the South Lakeland Cristina Rotary Club.

Over the weekend, they began cleaning up and rehabbing what will be called Scholarship House. It has four bedrooms, including one for a house parent, and will house up to eight students. It is scheduled to open next year and will charge rent of a sliding scale.

Heart for Winter Haven plans to open a similar place for homeless college women in the future.