A private donor recently gave the William S. Davies Homeless Shelters a $100,000 donation and the funds will be used to begin transitional housing beyond the shelters, William S. Davies Homeless Shelters Executive Director Devon Smyth said.
Right now there is the 16 bed facility for men on 18th Street and they’re working on the home for single women and women with children on North Broad.
Typically, their guests stay three to six months, and the time is used to help them get back on their feet and try and save some money, Smyth said.
But often the costs of getting their own place is more than they expected, Smyth said, and they may not have the skill set built to be self sufficient in the community — and that becomes even more important when children are involved.
This is where the transitional housing comes in.
“We can make a much more intentional journey for our guests,” Smyth said. “The goal is self-sufficiency.”
They noted one of the biggest gaps in the services they now provide is a family shelter. She’s seen families broken apart by poverty strive to stay together. They make progress but when there isn’t much of a safety net any setback is a huge setback.
“We’d like to support people who are making that progress,” she said. “Our hope is we can provide some family shelters as well as having ones for individuals. They’re looking at small houses — when you’re coming from an alcove in a shelter or nothing, any home is a blessing.”
The homes would be essentially rent free. Money paid for rent while the families are in the homes would go into a savings account and then when they’re able to move on provided back as a nest egg, she said.
The donation is a generous one but will only go so far in helping.
Those who wish to help can send a donation via check to PMB 391, 3 Central Plaza, 30161 and designate it for transitional housing, or on their website daviesshelter.com or even call in to the shelter at 706-512-1152.
This shift is just adding to the services the shelter already provides.
“We’re going to continue running the men’s shelter and opening the women’s shelter — it just complements the other,” Smyth said.