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One of the largest, long-term homeless programs for women coming to Stockton

Gospel Center Rescue Mission is in the final stage to renovate the former Alustiza Basque restaurant and hotel by 2020.

STOCKTON, Calif. — Andrea Mountjoy had just about given up all hope. She was homeless, addicted to durgs, and prostituting herself.

"I was at the county hospital (in French Camp) and I was really contemplating walking onto the freeway. I had had enough and I did not know where to start," Mountjoy.

Living under a bush, a hospital security guard told her about the Gospel Center Rescue Mission. Nearly two years later, Mountjoy is clean and sober and working full-time taking care of the mission's donations.

It is that kind of success story the rescue mission hopes to expand by adding 117 new beds for women to the soon-to-be-renovated Alustiza building on South San Joaquin Street. It's already owned by the Mission and on the Mission's campus.

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The building is a former Basque restaurant and hotel. Through public and private donations, more than $3 million has been raised for the $3.5 million project. The 75-year-old Rescue Mission already has 53 beds for women and children, and 170 total beds would make it one of the largest, resident long-term, women homeless programs in North America.

The program runs two years and includes a room, food, job training, education and more, all towards independence and permanent housing.

"We hope to be occupying this sometime late spring, 2017," said Gospel Center Rescue Mission Chief Executive Officer Wayne Richardson. "And with that we're really expanding our dining room, kitchen."

The Christian-based mission serves more than 1,000 men, women and children each day.

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