A few more families are in a safe place and have access to services that will hopefully help them get back on their feet.

It took a community, albeit guided by a group of people with a vision, to make it happen, but this week the Ruth and Naomi shelter opened up and there are a few less women and families out on the street.

Do we have a homeless problem? Yeah, yeah we do.

Volunteers in February counted approximately 200 people who were homeless and without shelter. They also counted 39 sheltered homeless. For some additional numbers at that same time — to give you some reference — there were also 297 students classified in Floyd County Schools as homeless and 230 students in Rome City Schools.

The board of the Davies shelters’ original goal was to get a few men off the street and give them a chance to begin patching up their lives.

What they quickly realized is there are a lot of women and families facing the same predicaments as the men. It’s a lot to handle and imagining having to turn away a family in need of a place to stay — it’s heartbreaking.

But it’s not just giving the women a place to stay. Devon Smyth, executive director for The Davies Shelters, said the goal is to bring women in and help them resolve any needs they have.

They also work with community partners like the Exchange Club Family Resource Center, housed at First Methodist Church.

Putting this project together has brought out the best in people and our local companies. From Ball Corp., which donated the flooring, to Jimmy Floyd for electrical work, and construction workers Fred Rife and James Tate to Carpenters for Christ for the alcoves and single women’s rooms — the community stepped up and turned out to help. From drug court volunteers who decided as a group to help hang drywall to Berry College students who came out to help, it has truly been a community project from the beginning.

And finally the finale

For everyone who participated in the Rome Celebrity Dance Challenge to benefit the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia — congratulations!

The event is not only an entertaining evening for Rome and area residents, it’s also a very important fundraiser for the SAC.

Board members and staff of the Sexual Assault Center work incredibly hard to put this huge event together each year.

The public sees the effort put forth by the dancers, but they may not realize all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

The SAC is a vitally important part of the community, providing important resources to local victims of sexual assault. They also provide outreach and education to young people, making them aware of the issue at an early age as well as the resources offered if they’re ever the victims of sexual assault.

The nature of their work keeps them somewhat of a secret in the community, but make no mistake, the SAC provides a valuable service to Rome and Floyd County residents.

As our features editor Severo Avila learned last year, there’s much more to being a Celebrity Dance Challenge contestant than simply getting up and dancing in front of everyone in Rome. There are the many nights and afternoons of training, fundraising and in general just putting yourself out there to trip, skip or shine. So to those who have stepped up, stepped out and made the event a success this year, we thank you.

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