Prison makeover project closes in on $50K prize

Haywood Pathways Center is almost to the finish line in an online voting contest that would provide $50,000 — plus the help of Ty Pennington and his crew from the “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” television show — to turn the old state prison in Hazelwood into a soup kitchen, homeless shelter and halfway house. 

Haywood Pathways is a group comprised of Open Door Ministries, Haywood Christian Emergency Center and Next Step ministries, three separate Christian organizations that hope to join forces at the new site. 

The contest, sponsored by Guaranteed Rate, drew more than 300 entries from 49 states and includes three rounds of voting. Haywood Pathways has come in first place in each of the first two rounds. If the organization repeats the feat in this round, which closes July 29, they’ll get $50,000 toward the $300,000 project. 

“It’s gonna take significant money to overhaul the old prison,” said Nick Honerkamp, head of the homeless shelter portion of Haywood Pathways. “Success begets success, so as we win grants and win competitions like this it causes other organizations to want to help us fund this project.”

To vote for Haywood Pathways Center, click the link on the group’s Facebook page at

— Holly Kays, staff writer

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