LABELLE, Fla.- St. Matthew's House, an organization that helps the less fortunate, is getting into the hotel business. WINK News has confirmed, St. Matthew's purchased a hotel in Labelle. The organization will use the profits from the hotel to help their shelters in Southwest Florida. WINK News found out not everyone is welcoming the new owners of the inn.
"A lot of excitement and a little bit of nervousness, because now we have a hotel to run and a restaurant," said President of St. Matthews House, Vann Ellison. An organization known more for helping the homeless is now the new owner of a hotel. The St. Matthew's House just purchased the Port Labelle Inn. "St. Matthew's House has had a great reputation of helping people, we don't just help the less fortunate and homeless, we help all the people who come to us," said Ellison.
Ellison says he hopes to bring new energy to Labelle with his plans to revitalize the property. On the list is to bring in conferences that will help people dealing with personal struggles.
"We want to make it better, make it a better draw for the community."
Not everyone in Labelle is excited about the new owners, and the future of the hotel.
"Worried about what's going to come out of this neighborhood, this is an elderly neighborhood and you start bringing homeless and addicts in, what's going to happen to this neighborhood?" said neighbor Boyd Ellis.
St. Matthews' president says he knows they'll have to gain peoples' trust.
"We know some people in the community are going to be anxious about what we are going to do, so we are very thoughtful we want to do a good job."
Saint Matthew's House will keep all of the hotel and restaurant's current employees. A golf course on the property has been abandoned for 13 years. St. Matthews says right now there are no plans to reopen that course.