Life sometimes can turn on a dime. Luck gives way to misery, but resources such as the Emergency Shelter are crucial for success in the community.
“We provide a safety net,” said director Dwight Donohoo.
“We try to assist anyone in being a success story for themselves and our community. We work to get them back in the mainstream,” he added as he explained the goal of the shelter.
Donohoo said the shelter receives people who have experienced problems such as job loss or other events such as deaths in the family which have forced them out of a home and into a shelter.
“The temporary shelter provides meals, case management where a person or family situation can be assessed ... and then goals are set for their future. Some may need education. We will help with housing and job searches or even a health care search,” Donohoo said.
The director also said full families as well as many individuals pass through the doors of the Cleveland Emergency Shelter.
“Some experience shortfalls in their income, causing them to lose their residence. Others experience family tragedy. Family members may die and create situations,” he said.
“We also have a number of people who leave Bradley County and Cleveland to work and then lose their job and decide to come back to their hometown,” Donohoo said.
In recent articles in this series, homelessness has been portrayed as somewhat of a “hidden” problem in communities.
When shelters are full, individuals or families would seek alternatives such as abandoned buildings or other structures in the community, mostly in urban areas.
Area law enforcement typically investigates complaints or performs welfare checks on people who may fall into the homeless category.
“Police are compassionate and I have observed many officers provide food, clothing or blankets to those in need,” said Evie West of the Cleveland Police Department.
Donohoo said recently that anyone, even college graduates and professionals, can find themselves in the homeless category.
Citing the economy and other factors, he explained it is a many-faceted problem that does not care how much school you attended or how much money you once had.
Family Promise is also a resource for those in need, and utilizes volunteers to aid families. The Bradley-Cleveland Community Services Agency is a resource, as well.
For those in need of refuge or help, contact the Emergency Shelter at 478-1458.