During a 2009 Think Out Loud show on rural homelessness we learned that shelter is often harder to find in remote regions of the state than more urban ones.
In Hermiston, a food bank called Agape House is taking on the unique challenges of homelessness in rural regions. This week they breaking ground on Martha’s House. It’s Hermiston’s first and only homeless shelter. The shelter is slated to provide a temporary home to approximately 15 families in its final phase.
One of the first steps in creating a homeless family shelter in Hermiston was surveying the neighbors. Agape House staff conducted field research to assure that surrounding businesses welcomed a shelter. One business owner had concerns about attracting crime and loiterers to the neighborhood. Agape House executive director Dave Hughes said her concerns were alleviated when she learned that the shelter would enforce a curfew and prohibit drugs and alcohol. He said that 95 percent of businesses surveyed have ended up donating money to the project.
Do you have experience with homelessness in rural regions? Would Martha’s House have made a difference for you or your loved ones?