In Dec. 10 Issue
It was announced at the fiscal court special meeting on Monday that money has become available for the purchase of the old Shiloh Motel for use as an emergency shelter and homeless program center.
Pastor Tony Stephens said the Russell County Emergency Shelter Board, along with the Russell County Ministerial Association would be responsible for the operation of the shelter.
Stephens said there are plans for 11 apartments there for those in need of temporary housing until they get back on their feet. He said plans include another three units that would be reserved for transient families and individuals.
He explained that the federal stimulus money that had been dolled out last year for such projects had fallen short funding and so the Russell County project had missed out. But since then one of the other projects has fallen through which means that Russell County is to get the money.
The amount quoted was about $780,000 to purchase the property out of foreclosure at The Bank of Jamestown and get the ball rolling for remodeling and modifying the building to meet their needs.
This week the fiscal court approved application for another $1.265 million in federal grants to go toward the project.
Saying the project would, "provide a centralized location for all of the county's benevolent services," Stephens said it will be a great improvement.
Magistrate Greg Popplewell said he was in favor of giving those in need a hand up, but asked if they were sure procedures were in place to make sure the program was not abused.
Stephens said they were very aware of the need to insure that only those in need were assisted and have been working to insure that those are the only people helped.
He pointed to the change from providing motel rooms to the small emergency shelter their organization built a couple of years ago. He said that the lack of television, swimming pool and so on had cut into the number of people who "needed" the help in this county.
Stephens indicated the same Spartan approach to accommodations would be part of the new plan. He explained that an architect is looking over the plans to make sure that the apartments and rooms meet the federal and state requirements for people's basic needs.
County Emergency Services Director H.M. Bottom gave his endorsement to the plan and said there is presently very little abuse of the system here.
Stephens added that there will be other controls in place to see to it that those in need are provided for but those who abuse such benevolent systems are not provided that opportunity.
County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner said the over $7,000 a year for insurance for the facility would be split between the county and both cities while the shelter board and ministerial group will be responsible for operations and paying the bills at the facility.
The only other item on the agenda for the meeting was the approval of a change by the state in the local road program. The court approved adding a road in Jabez to the list of roads for reworking since there was still about $12,000 in state money available.