By Kayla Evans
For the Opelika Observer
One Voice Shelter Coalition had an open house on Feb. 26 to show its new location located in Opelika.
One Voice provides emergency, temporary or transitional shelter for homeless women in Lee County. Its goal is to provide a safe place for women to get back on their feet and get integrated into society. The women have to meet a few conditions to be taken in by One Voice: they need to want help, live in Lee County, be working and be drug and alcohol free.
The new house has 14 rooms with a half bath in each room and showers down the hall. It also has a kitchen, living room, day room with computers and an outside patio. Each room looks a little different to let the women feel like they have their own space, and a few of the rooms are bigger, for the women who have children. To keep the house running, the women living there also help with cooking, laundry, cleaning and outside work.
Seven women moved in on Monday, and seven more will move in at a later date. Upon arrival, the counselors give the women a full assessment and begin planning what each woman needs. There are counselors who live in the house and help guide the women through the process and work with them through trauma situations. Each woman will stay for about six months; the hope is to get them back on their feet and able to afford their own places.
One Voice has partnered with Mercy Medical and Southern Union to get the best care for the women. One Voice will work with women who never graduated high school to get them their GED. A few hairstylists are also working with them and will style their hair if they have an interview or meeting to go to. With many volunteers, the new house costs $12,000 a month to run.
Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham said that this wasn’t the work of one person. This was the work of Lee County and many people who had a passion for this.
One Voice Shelter Coalition already has one location that was established in May 2018. Since then, they have handled 70 requests for shelter.
For more information, visit www.ovscleecounty.org/.