Imagine you have a loved one who's been hurt or who's sick and the only hospital is hours away. Now figure out where you're going to stay or how you can afford a hotel, maybe for weeks at a time.
That's the problem that Tulsa's Hospitality House solves.
As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg explains, Tuesday was the grand opening for their new facility to help families in need.
"We took possession in middle of May, May 16th. So it took us 12 weeks to get to this point, which is amazing, cause we did it with volunteers in the summer with over 100 degree heat, so it was pretty incredible." It took 12 weeks to renovate, but Hospitality House President Toni Moore says this has been her goal for two years. The small 7-unit apartment building will be a home away from home for families who have to travel to Tulsa to be near a loved one in the hospital.
"It helps them so much because they're sleeping in waiting-room chairs or their vehicles. Or eating out of vending machines and trying to save money. It's just a very difficult time for them."
Moore knows. Her own husband had a two-week stay in a hospital more than two hours from their home. A staggering 25,000 families travel to Tulsa from other towns every year for hospital care.
Moore says the little apartment house is just one small step, but it's a good start. "There were several of the apartments that were partially remodeled, but they still needed some work done and four of the apartments absolutely had to be completely redone, so it was a lot of work."
Hospitality House will serve all Tulsa hospitals. Hospital social workers will determine who will stay at Hospitality House, based on need.
Moore says they don't know who the first family will be, but they'll be ready next Monday. "We've worked so hard the last 12 weeks and it's been amazing to watch the volunteers pull this together. So it's a great day of celebration."
Hospitality House is a non-profit and gets donations from individuals and businesses. They ask families for a small donation, but they say no family will ever be turned away because they're unable to pay.
Moore guesses that they will be able to take care of around 150 families a year.