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Clark County Homeless Coaltion opens new shelter

October 18, 2011|By Rachel Parsons
  • Karen Cinnamond, executive director of the Clark County Homeless Shelter, looks at a bedroom at the agencys Wainscott Avenue facility. All furniture was donated or purchased with money by local clubs, churches and organizations.
Rachel Parsons | rparsons@winchestersun.com

At 25 Wainscott Ave., the beds are all made, the cabinets are stocked with food and a fresh coat of paint covers the walls.

Now all that’s missing is a family to make the house truly feel like a home.

For families in need of shelter, 25 Wainscott Ave. is a place to lay their heads at night and to find resources to help them get back on their feet. The facility, owned and operated by the Clark County Homeless Coalition, will open to homeless families from Clark County Wednesday after more than two years of planning and fundraising.

“It’s just like home,” Karen Cinnamond, executive director, said.

The new shelter is designed to be transitional housing for families, although single adults also will be considered for residence. The average stay is expected to be 90 days. Applicants must be Clark County residents who are currently homeless, or will be evicted within seven days and do not have another place to stay.

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Two applicants have already been accepted, and several more applications are being reviewed, Cinnamond said. A criminal background check must be conducted on all applicants, and no one with a history of violence will be admitted, for the safety of the children who may live at the facility.

“We have intensive case management,” Cinnamond said.

Case worker Debbie Allen, an AmeriCorps volunteer, will meet with residents weekly to discuss job prospects, medical needs and educational opportunities. The goal of the CCHC, Cinnamond said, is to help people successfully transition into permanent housing, and teach them important life skills. In addition, each family will be evaluated every 30 days to make sure they are following all house rules.

“There’s an ongoing evaluation to see if the family is using the resources the way they’re intended,” Cinnamond said.

Several organizations, including Comprehensive Care, have agreed to partner with the CCHC and work with shelter residents.

“We’ll be relying on community partners and those experts to provide that,” Cinnamond said.
For board president Terry Davidson, seeing the shelter open is especially gratifying after being what

Cinnamond called a “change agent.” The CCHC was formed after Davidson met with local leaders to discuss the homeless problem in Clark County.

“It’s very exciting to see this next phase start. My role and involvement is by no means ending. It’s exciting to see it finally come to fruition, to see what the community has done,” Davidson said.

The shelter, all furniture and appliances were all provided by community donations. All funding comes from private grants and donations, Davidson said, and continued community involvement is essential to keep the shelter open.

“Virtually everything has been donated. It’s been remarkable to see how the community has stepped up,” Davidson said.

The goal was to create a welcoming environment, a place that would feel like home to families.

“We wanted it to feel comfortable and not institutional,” Davidson said. “This was something God kind of laid on my heart.”

Applications can be delivered to the CCHC�¿office, 19 Wainscott Ave., in the former People Helping People building. For more information, call 744-8733.

“This house is only a beginning of meeting needs. It’s not the end-all, be-all, but it is a strong start,” Cinnamond said.

Eventually, Cinnamond and Davidson said they would like to expand the CCHC’s services and provide an emergency shelter, as well.

“The vision is large,”Ã?¿Cinnamond said.

For more information on donating, or volunteering for the CCHC, visit www.clarkcountyhomelesscoaltion.com.

“Every person that walks in the door has value and dignity,” Cinnamond said.

Contact Rachel Parsons at rparsons@winchestersun.com.

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