The Adams County Homeless Shelter (ACHS) is asking the residents of the county to remember those most in need during the holiday season by making a monetary or toy donation to the shelter.
“We normally have needy children at Christmas and we try to give them gifts as nice as we would give our own children because we want them to know we respect their dignity,” said Bob Boldman, director of ACHS.
The shelter receives grant funding from the state, but the amount can vary each year, as does the number of people the organization assists.
According to the shelter’s Boldman, the shelter is an emergency facility for the homeless until they are picked up by other agencies, such as ABCAP’s Rapid Re-Housing Program.
“We like it when no one is here because that means everyone has some place to be,” Boldman stated.
The winter months from October to February are the shelter’s busiest time.
Holly Johnson, Director of Adams County Economic Development, and a member of the shelter’s Board of Directors, told the Defender, “There are women and children who stay there, and the shelter does its best to provide the children with Christmas presents.”
The shelter provides age-appropriate Christmas gifts, not only for children staying in the shelter, but also for those who have been in the shelter and need further assistance.
“The people the shelter assists are asking for a hand up, not a hand out,” Johnson explained, “Many are working eight hour days, or part-time jobs, and they need just a little additional help, especially this time of year.”
In a recent news release Director Boldman and Deputy Director Della Pritchett stated, “We are well aware that it may be difficult to give during such tough economic times, but please be aware that there are many others who find themselves in worse predicaments. The Adams County Shelter for the homeless will be happy to accept any form of help and we do not have a minimum requirement for monetary donations.”
Several individuals, businesses and organizations have already donated including Leadership Adams, which gave the shelter a check for $1,000. (Look for more about Leadership Adams in Dec. 16 issue of the People’s Defender).
The shelter is a 16 bed facility that has served the Adams County community for 20 years. It provides space for men, women, and families. They service those who have been made homeless through financial calamity, domestic violence, and natural disasters such as floods and fires. According to Ms. Johnson, “We have a process and strict guidelines governing admission into the shelter. We do background checks to be certain that the children are not exposed to anyone with a criminal record.”
Those who are given refuge in the shelter are limited to a 30-day stay and application is required for admission.
Imogene Kidder and a group of concerned supporters founded the AC Shelter for the Homeless in 1995.
The first shelter buildings were located in Blue Creek. In 2010 the shelter was granted an allocation through the county to purchase its current facility at 11483 St. Rt. 41 in West Union.
According to their website, “Adams County Shelter endeavors to provide services to all citizens in need. A house is the basis for a home, it’s the structure inside where our lives unfold; where we nurture our children, face our challenges and celebrate our milestones. For a house to become a home it must be safe, decent, affordable – and available. In Ohio, more affordable housing is badly needed. Last year, approximately 150,000 Ohioans were homeless. More than 40 percent of Ohio renters cannot afford the fair-market rent of a two-bedroom unit; and foreclosures totaled nearly 90,000 in 2009. It was the 14th consecutive year of record breaking foreclosure numbers.
At Adams County Homeless Shelter (ACSH) we believe that everybody should have a home. ACSH supports a range of housing assistance services in Ohio, including homeless prevention, rapid re-housing, and finding permanent affordable housing with linkages to supportive services, as needed. Since 1995, ACSH has worked on behalf of the homeless in need of emergency shelter; hoping that someday they will find shelter that can become lasting homes filled with life’s possibilities.”