WARRENSBURG — Community members have rallied together as Journey Home nears opening in Warrensburg.
Journey Home is a shelter to help those facing homelessness find permanent residency.
“Journey Home is an opportunity, really,” Erica Collins, Journey Home Board member said. “It is a collaboration of the community to provide shelter for our unsheltered residents and to connect them with resources they need as they move towards permanent housing.”
Collins said guests are allowed to stay for extended periods of time as they search for permanent residency.
“We want people to be sustainable once they leave,” she said.
Collins said Journey Home is a service meant to help people not only find permanent residency but also sure-up other areas of their lives they may need help with, such as budgeting and paying bills.
“Definitely want individuals to have the opportunity to save money so they can pay deposits, pay rent and do that type of thing,” she said. “There are a lot of secondary issues that have to be addressed so that the primary issue can be addressed.”
Journey Home is located on Ming Street.
While no opening date is set, Collins said the board hopes to have the house operational soon.
“Some of that will depend on some logistics,” Collins said.
She said community members are working to get the house up to code so that the house can be a mainstay in the community for years to come.
“Really right now it is about dotting ‘i’s’ and crossing ‘t’s’ so that when we open the doors it is a permanent shelter,” Collins said.
Finding a permanent location to service those facing homelessness is not new to Warrensburg.
A temporary shelter was open last winter.
“We are really trying to do our due-diligence to do everything right the first time,” Collins said.
She said the community has been helpful in this new endeavor.
“It means everything to the population; it means everything to this community,” Collins said of having a permanent shelter.
Collins said Journey Home is unique because while various organizations have attempted to open shelters in the past, this shelter depends on the entire community to be successful, not just a sub-set of the community.
“While certainly those efforts came from the right place and were applauded, the real truth is the best model is to have a house that is supported by the community, that everybody has buy-in,” she said.
Collins said the board encourages community input.
“We want to have open dialogue with the community,” Collins said. “We are looking at this as a community project. Bring your skill-set, bring your passion and let’s do what you do best, let’s help people.”
Collins said the goal of Journey Home is to prepare those using the facility for life after Journey Home.
“We are looking at this for the long-haul,” she said.
Collins said Journey Home can host 20 people once it is all up to code.
“While 20 does not sound like a big number, individuals will be moving at their pace and moving onto permanency and so before you know it we will have served many people,” Collins said.
Collins said Journey Home will host its residents during the night before they head out the next morning to do their daily activities.
“We realize we won’t be doing it all but our hopes and our efforts is really towards building a collaborative body with other organizations in the community that can serve the needs that are already doing so,” Melissa Werner, board member, said.