Photos and report submitted by Robert Noles
The One Voice Shelter Coalition gathered for a luncheon Thursday to show appreciation to their current supporters and future supporters. The program consisted of a lunch and remarks from District 3 Lee County Commissioner Robert Ham.
Ham thanked those who have been on the Northridge Committee and those who made the Northridge Project happen.
In January 2019, Jean Causey said Lee County had 80 homeless individuals.
This January, one year later, that number has increased to 110. These numbers were gathered by the number of applications for those wanting to live in the homeless shelter.
Why do we have homeless people?
In Lee County, some have jobs but do not make enough to pay for a home or affordable housing. Others may have lost their job, not finished their education or made bad financial decisions.
Some of these people sleep in their cars, in alleys, between building, at friends’ homes.
During his talk, Ham said the group’s philosophy on this issue will be: “A Hand Up Not A Hand Out.”
The Beulah-based Friends of the Community group bought the 10,000 square foot building for the Northridge Project for $390,000. The group then gave the building to the One Voice Shelter Coalition. However, the 501c3 organization will need funding to help run the facility.
The building will house 14 working women with no drug or alcohol problems and a counselor. During their stay, the women will be screened by a professional and assessed on how they can be helped. Some partners in this initiative include Southern Union State Community College, Mercer Medical, and many volunteers.
Life skills that will be shared with the women include filling out job applications, creating a resume, making a budget and balancing their money.
A woman’s average stay at the home will be six months in length. They must make a payment to stay there and these funds will used to help them cover deposits and other costs tied with housing once they leave. This program is only open to Lee County women.
The shelter’s ultimate goal is for working people in Lee County to help them get back on their feet. The shelter will provide one meal a day and each people in additional to the classes to help them, will also be required to do chores around the shelter.
There will be a follow-up program to help stay in touch with them and provide counseling services. The 16-room shelter is nearly ready. Two of the rooms will be used for counselors. The operating budget will be $10,000 a month with $4,500 already committed. However, they cannot open until the $10,000 is committed.
For more information or to contribute, contact Jean Causey by calling 334-749-5264 or sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or Selena Daniel at 334-750-8741 and email at email@example.com.
One can also donate by visiting www.ovscleecounty.org, going to the bottom of the page and clicking the “Donate Today!” button.