CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Scott Johnson is trying to bring hope back to the street of Good Hope. He says it used to thrive with shops and businesses, but not anymore.
So he's opened an organization called Soulful Harvest Ministries to help people get on their feet, and be successful.
"There is such a need," said Gevonee Dockery, who is helping Johnson turn the neighborhood around.
"We need something," said Chuck Meyer, owner of Meyer Supply Co. on Good Hope.
"It's really, really needed," said Johnson.
Johnson understands the need, because he's been there.
"I have experience with homelessness, living in my car with my children, and being through not having lights for 3 and a half months," said Johnson.
"The neighborhood is run down, vacant buildings," said Meyer.
"'There's so many of them that don't have much to do, and they're just in the streets," said Angela Johnson, Johnson's sister, who is also helping with the neighborhood turn around.
"A lot of times we try to come up with a solution for a need that we don't even know what the problems are," said Johnson.
But since Johnson does understand the problems he sees in the South Cape Girardeau area, he found his solution, open Soulful Harvest Ministries.
"I know there's a great need for change," said Johnson. "There's people out here literally dying, they're suffering."
"People have to get to the bottom to climb to top," said Dockery.
Johnson plans to help people rise to the top through the organization located at 624 Good Hope street. He says his mission is a whole new mentality.
"Get them out of the lines for standing and waiting for food," said Johnson. "Put them on the other side and see what it's like to give for a change."
"For someone to feel like they're helping somebody, I think it opens them to feel like they deserve help," said Dockery.
But it doesn't come easy.
"First I thought 'good luck'," said Meyer.
"They thought maybe he ain't for real, and you know he's just saying stuff, but it happened," said Angela Johnson.
"They're shocked at first because they're like 'wow really you're doing this'," said Dockery.
Meyer says he's already seen the positive influence in the neighborhood, and hopes it can continue.
"Since Scott's been here, I've had inquiries about another building I have for rent," said Meyer.
Meyer, along with others in the neighborhood say they're happy to see something meet the pressing need.
"It will help us, and the neighborhood, just having people here," said Meyer.
"I've had a tremendous amount of supporters that say you know your timing is perfect," said Johnson.
"A change is coming, it's time," said Dockery.
Johnson says they plan to have a dinner Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011 at 3 p.m. He encourages people to bring food if they can, and says people can either stay to eat, or take a plate to go.