Shelter planned for homeless men - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Shelter planned for homeless men

September 18, 2002

Valdosta - Nearly 1000 Lowndes County residents make their homes on park benches, city streets, and dark alleys. But, there is help for some of these people.

"We have the Haven, New Horizons, and a few other places that have had a big impact on homeless women and children," said Vernell Howard, concerned resident.

But these services aren't available to homeless men. Hundreds of men, like Ricky Dyal, whose home burned a few years ago, are separated from their families and left without a place to stay.

"My wife and my kids stayed at a local shelter and were treated real good, but I couldn't stay with them," said Dyal.

Right now, homeless men in Valdosta can receive some assistance at the Salvation Army. They provide GED classes and other training exercises to help men get back on their feet, but they're only allowed to stay for three days.

But Howard and her partner, Pam McBourrough, may soon help remedy this problem. They're working towards a long-term homeless shelter designed especially for men.

"It's going to eliminate all these people we see lying on the side of the roads," said Howard.

But, there's one thing standing in the way of establishing the shelter - money. The program has already received a grant of nearly $19,000, but they still need more help from the community.

Dyal says financial shortcomings are reducing all forms of assistance. "Many of the local food banks are out of food, so I don't know what we're going to do."

But with the efforts of people like Howard, and help from the community, these men will soon find a safe place to lay their heads and the skills needed to live self-sufficient lives.

posted at 3:15 by ashley.harper@walb.com