HAZARD — The homeless shelter in Perry County is set to re-open full time this week after some unexpected donations were made to give administrators funding needed for the upcoming winter months.
Services at the shelter, located on the corner of Memorial Drive and Main Street in Hazard, were drastically cut in May after federal stimulus and other funds dried up. As a result, only emergency shelter during the overnight hours were offered at Corner Haven. That will change this week, noted Adrienne Bush, executive director of Community Ministries, the nonprofit organization in Hazard that operates the shelter.
“We plan on opening the shelter 24/7 beginning Wednesday, Nov. 7, providing both emergency and transitional services for folks without a home,” Bush said.
It was September when local leaders, including those with the Hazard Police Department and city and county government, along with Community Ministries, area churches, and others, began meeting to discuss ways to obtain funding to re-open the shelter full time for at least the winter months. Bush noted then that Community Ministries would need $50,000 to hire staff and pay for other costs to open the shelter during the daytime hours.
Shortly after those meetings, donations began to come in for the shelter, including one anonymous challenge donation while several churches and individuals also worked to pitch in. It was a $1,000 donation made by the students from Roy G. Eversole Elementary in Hazard last week that gave Community Ministries the final amount needed to re-open the shelter, Bush said.
The students of Roy G. Eversole Elementary had been hard at work collecting those donations, pitching in and donating what they could, eventually raising $1,000. The check was presented to Bush during an assembly on Thursday, Nov. 1, at which time she thanked the students and noted that without the community and the hard work of everyone, many people would not have a warm place to go this winter.
News of the shelter’s opening full time was “fantastic” to hear, noted Major James East with the Hazard Police Department, especially considering that the temperatures have dropped in Perry County over the past few weeks.
“I know they’ve had somewhere to stay at night, but as it gets closer to the cold winter months, I think it’s going to be especially important that they have a place that’s open and warm during the day,” East said. “I’m just so grateful to our community that’s stepped up and was able to provide that funding.”
Bush noted this week that staff is in place at the shelter, and a meeting was held last week with residents to explain the time frame and answer any questions they may have. And while there will be challenges in the form of future funding, for now the community has pulled together to help some of the area’s most needy.
“It’s really thanks to the leadership of the Hazard Police Department, and lots of churches and lots of organizations who made this possible,” Bush said. “We have a very, very generous community, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”