Caroline Ivey, executive director of the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless, spoke to members of the Kiwanis Club of Jasper Monday about the group’s transitional housing facility, “The Haven of Hope,” which is located at 500 Blackwell Dairy Road in Jasper.
The shelter, which has 44 beds, received its first residents in May and currently houses 10 Walker County citizens. The Haven of Hope is open to homeless families or single women. Three of the facility’s current residents are children, Ivey said.
“Even though we don’t have huge numbers right now, we feel it is a pretty big success,” Ivey said.
The shelter serves three meals per day, with residents helping with the preparation and planning of meals. The facility, along with help from other area groups, also provides Christ-centered spiritual conseling and Bible studies, GED preparation and job readiness, as well as transportation for its residents.
“All but one of the current adult residents were unemployed when they came to us,” Ivey said. “Now, all but two are employed, and they are on their way to building a stable foundation for their lives.”
The length of stay for residents at Haven of Hope varies on a case-by-case basis, Ivey said.
“This is not a place where people will come and park forever,” she said. “We have goals for the residents and are constantly accessing and re-accessing.”
Ivey, who has been executive director of the coalition since April, said she appreciates the support the group has received from the community. She also asked for continued support.
“We are privately funded. None of our funds come from the government,” she said. “That can be a good thing and a bad thing, but it means that we rely heavily on our community for help.”
Ivey said volunteer opportunities currently at Haven of Hope include preparing and serving dinners, answering phones, special event planning, spring and fall cleaning and transportation.
“We have church groups or individuals that donate their time to cook for our residents,” she said. “That’s something that we encourage people to do.”
The group also has a donation wish list that includes toiletries, powdered laundry detergent, dish liquid, dishwasher detergent, Ziploc bags (all sizes), cleaning supplies, plastic containers for leftovers, foil, garbage bags (all sizes), paper goods (paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, paper plates, cups and cutlery) and food items.
Monetary donations may also be sent to Haven of Hope, P.O. Box 1194, Jasper, AL, 35502. Ivey can also be reached at 205-387-7408.