We’re the only shelter for four counties. We give a hand up, not a hand out. We’re considered a work study program. Our clients stay at the shelter and are required to find employment. They’re required to register through the temp agency here in town. They’re really, really good about finding our people employment. I’ve had somebody fill out the application online, go in there, and go to work that day. And once they’ve gained employment, we hold on to 75 percent of their income and put it in a savings for them. Their main goal here is to save money. When they have enough to move out, we give the money back to them so they can cover things like their first and last month’s rent. Our main goal is to end homelessness in this area and to help people become independent and successful. My men’s side is always full. I have 10 beds. The women’s side, not so much this time of year, but I have seven rooms and 15 beds there. In the wintertime we are always full because people have either ran out of income tax money or they lost their job or just circumstances.
You get really close to people and you want to see their lives change.
Why do I work here? Well, I came here as a client and I found a job. I had some health issues, but didn’t have any insurance and had to have surgery. I couldn’t afford the medication. My paychecks were going towards my surgery. I had been doing odd stuff around the shelter, just helping the manager check people in, and keeping an eye on things, so he made me his assistant. I had another surgery, so I decided to stay. I wanted to give back to the people that helped me out. I made a promise that I would pay them back the money they loaned me to get my medication. I love working here. I love helping people. I love spending time with the people. Now I’ve been the manager for almost two years, so I can’t picture being anywhere else.
Housing plays a critical role in our physical, mental and emotional health. With stable housing, kids are healthier and better prepared to learn and grow, older adults can live with dignity as they age, and our neighbors can go to their jobs ready to be productive and help our communities thrive. When we look out for one another, we all see #TheNetBenefit.