Our History.

The History, Organization and Purpose of First Stop

Initiated in 2001, the First Stop Program began as an independent sub-program of the Huntsville AL Interfaith Mission Service Inc. In January 2008, the program was separately incorporated under the name of First Stop, Inc. and under the administration and fiscal guidance of a separate First Stop Board of Directors. All staff, property and assets were transferred from IMS to the First Stop Corporation. Separate accounting and financial books were established with a start date of January 1, 2009.

The continuing First Stop, Inc. purpose is to provide a point of contact, outreach, care and case management support to street homeless with the objective of reducing their numbers by empowering the homeless persons to be able to achieve self-sufficiency and permanent housing.

First Stop clientele are the "Street Homeless" who are usually adults living under the bridges, in makeshift camps, and doorways throughout the city and some transient shelters. These clients are composed of men, women, veterans, largely mentally ill or mentally handicapped, disabled, often substance abusers and all in need of personal attention, assistance and guidance. First Stop has established a centrally located day center at 206 Stokes Street from which the available staff and volunteers reach out to these clients in the camps and places where they live to assist them in accessing mainstream human services and developing an income source so that housing becomes a reality.

First Stop provides a meal each weekday morning, mailing address, next-of-kin contact if desired, a personal locker, payee services, ID documentation, other physical health and mental care monitoring and needs and the opportunity for showers, laundry, daytime shelter and personalized case management. An average of more than fifty persons per day utilize these facilities out of a registered clientele of over 135 and another 30-40 applicants form the streets. In any given twelve month period, First Stop services more than 200 different individuals totally free of all charges.

First Stop case workers screen and gather information on each client applying for assistance to determine background, employment history, eligibility for social service programs, personal medical/mental health needs, and potential income support such as job opportunities, Social Security, Medicaid, Veterans Administration support and Food Stamps.

Immediate health care needs are met through a volunteer nurse as well as a volunteer psychiatrist plus a homeless-persons-only morning at the Community Free Clinic. all other emergency care cases are referred to and transported to the Emergency Rooms at Huntsville Hospital or Crestwood Medical Center or the Madison County Mental Health Center. First Stop provides transportation to and from off-site medical and mental health support, as well as arranging for and providing purchase of prescription medicines and non-prescription medicines when funds allow. With some grants, we have been able to obtain dental care and optical assistance for many of our clients.

Where a client shows the ability to accept responsibility and has a potential income, First Stop case workers search out housing units and place clients in permanent housing, equip it with initial furnishings and food pantry items to begin the road to self-sufficiency. First Stop is also instrumental in obtaining short and long-term jobs for the responsible clients.

First Stop also sees to the needs of the homeless by providing clothing, shelter, blankets, food and medical needs of those on the streets.  We conduct street visits on a weekly basis to ensure that their basis needs are attended to and their health is monitored as much as possible.

We do not require full sobriety from either drugs or alcohol, nor is there any religious requirement to receive the free services of First Stop. We only ask that each client treat the staff with respect and to not bring drugs or alcohol to the facility.

We also have installed a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) in conjunction with the HUD-directed desire to track the support efforts and results of care and treatment to and for homeless persons individually and as a group. The desired end results is to bring homeless persons back into mainstream society. First Stop has been recognized by the US HUD, Region IV for Alabama as performing as a top rated agency in obtaining this objective.

Though First Stop sees continued success and growth, Huntsville continues to see more and more individuals moving to Huntsville to try to gain employment in this touch financial climate. Some succeed and some add to the numbers on the streets. First Stop relies on HUD and FEMA grants and several smaller grants through the state-HUD Emergency Shelter grant, a City of Huntsville appropriation as well as many individual, corporate and congregational donations. First Stop needs your continued support so that they can meet the needs of the homeless in our community.

First Stop, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) corporation established in 2001 to reduce the number of homeless persons in Huntsville/Madison County, Alabama communities. 

First Stop provides valuable services in the community by:

  -Promoting rehabilitation of our homeless citizens;

  -Facilitating their transition from the street into permanent housing

  -Assisting their reintroduction into the workforce, and

  -Providing them life-management-skills training to promote continued stability and growth.

First Stop's efforts are funded through federal, state and local grants, planned outreach/fundraising efforts, generous contributions from organizations and gifts from interested individuals.

Visitors are welcome to stop in and tour the First Stop facility anytime during business hours. 

about us.

Our staff.

Not Pictured:  Tim Davis Vice President 

                           Maureen Gordon, Treasurer

                           Buzz Rudow, Secretary

​                           Carolyn Wilson, Director

​                           Gus Davis, Director

                           Paul Freeman, Director






Hours of Operation

Monday-Thursday 8:00am - 4:00pm

    After 1:00pm by appointment only

Friday 8:00am - 2:00pm

Mike Gordon,  President

Tim Talley -  Facilities Maintenance

Phillip Moore - Case Manager

Tercell Clayborn - Case Manager

The Rev. Paul Pradat, Director

Shirley Mohler, Director