During times of frigid cold, homeless shelters across the country are being filled to the brim with people seeking shelter from the snow and frost. The country’s homeless population is also up for the first time since 2010, says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, so these shelters are more strained than ever before.
This means, however, that there are still people who are forced to stay on the streets during snow storms because they have nowhere else to turn.
“35 percent of people who are homeless are not sheltered,” Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, told NPR. “We have about 550,000 homeless people but only about 275,000 emergency beds. So this is something that causes issues when we have these kinds of serious cold snaps.”
This leaves room for organizations like Wisdom’s Wellspring to step up to the challenge. Wisdom’s Wellspring is a nonprofit created in 2010 to provide women with the wisdom to transform their lives and communities. In 2014, the organization opened their first facility at a Methodist church in Tallahassee, Florida in order to help women who were on the verge of or were already suffering from homelessness.
In the face of the current cold fronts hitting America, the Wisdom’s Wellspring facility has opened its doors to homeless women who need to get off of the cold streets.
“Compared to the rest of the country, this cold snap is manageable, but for those without shelter it can be quite dangerous,” ABC27 WTXL reported. “Wisdom’s Wellspring is a nonprofit organization providing a warm space for emergencies like this.”
The facility’s regular residential program lasts for up to two years. Eight women between the ages of 18 and 30 currently live there. These women receive lodging, transportation, and food, as well as mentoring designed to help them become self-sufficient and acquire jobs that can help keep them off the streets.
To receive these services, women must pay $150 or the equivalent in goods or services per month. The facility accepts women of all religious affiliations, races, ethnicities, and marital statuses, as long as they are between the ages of 18 and 30.
“I was going through another line of homelessness again and I was like ‘I do not want to go through this again,’” 20-year-old Ashley Ballard told WTXL. “So, I got in touch with my sister who was not long ago here and she helped me get into this place.” At the time, Ballard had only been living at the facility for a few days and was hopeful that the program would give her the skills necessary to live alone and support herself.
Several women have already graduated from Wisdom’s Wellspring’s program and have successfully found work and places to live on their own, WTXL reported.
In the future, the organization is working to help young women in other capacities, as well as to broaden their services to also help young men suffering from homelessness.
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