In Jan. 20 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
Compassionate managers, Frank and Laura Lynch, have joined The Inn transitional housing complex in Russell Springs.
"We're doing this for the Lord and to help people," said Frank Lynch. "We're commanded to go help people and we feel like we're called to do that."
Of the nine applications received for the management position, the Lynch's were one of three interviews conducted by the Russell County Emergency Shelter (RCES) Board.
"Their heart, their experience, and their passion (made them stand out from other applicants)," said Tony Stephens, pastor of Jamestown Christian Church and RCES Board member.
The couple will serve as onsite managers of The Inn, a transitional housing facility to help folks in need of assistance toward attaining and sustaining a home of their own.
"We're the Inn keepers," said Frank Lynch.
Frank Lynch volunteers locally by ministering to people with 2nd Chance Outreach and working with them during fund raisers.
In 2007, the Lynch's moved to Russell Springs from Florida where they had been accustomed to helping their neighbors in need of food and shelter.
"We always welcomed people in our house and sometimes we'd feed them out the back door," said Frank Lynch.
He said one particular gentleman, Bernie, was a successful contractor at one time but he went through a divorce, got depressed, and became homeless.
They gave Bernie hot meals, advice, and their friendship.
On another occasion, Laura Lynch invited an area family over for dinner only to learn the family of seven was living in their car.
"The husband was able to work and the wife was taking care of the children," said Laura Lynch. "They had two grown girls, a 15 year old, a four year old and a five year old living in a station wagon."
The Lynch's talked it over and asked them to come live with them.
"We had plenty of floor space, not too many beds but we had a big couch, a couple of blow up beds, and sheets and blankets," said Laura Lynch. "We got them going to church and they got back on their feet...It was just a hand up to give them some stability while they could regroup."
Stephens said seeing their lives and what they have been through was a good indicator of the couple's ability to work well as managers of The Inn.
"We saw the need for compassion to be a significant element of this role so with some of their background experiences it definitely uniquely qualified them to serve in this role," said Stephens.
Soon applications will be evaluated and the first residents will move into the new transitional housing.
Applications come in from various sources including the courthouse, churches, and office at The Inn.
Initial review of applications is conducted by Frank and Laura Lynch who bring them to the Russell County Emergency Shelter Board for consideration.
"We want to make sure that we're helping people," Stephens said. "Frank and Laura take a look at the applications, make some phone calls, and have some conversations to make sure that our particular situation will help folks."
So far, five applications to live at The Inn have been received.
Applicants have goals but are in need of help to get to the next level of self sufficiency.
After several years of being involved in helping people in need, Stephens says it takes about $1,200 and $1,500 to get a family settled in with all the deposits required up front to establish themselves in housing.
Even with a job, families may have to wait two weeks to get paid and when they get their first check, it's gone already in trying to get caught up.
"We're hoping that once we get started, we can move a family or individual in once a week," Tony Stephens. "We want to make sure we do a good job in bringing folks in."
Both Frank and Laura Lynch are looking forward to assisting others to live independent lives.
"I'm ready because I'm trusting in the Lord," said Frank Lynch. "Through prayer He'll be able to show us what to do along the way at each step."
"I'm anxious to see and to get people in and to speak with them," Laura Lynch said. "The applications that we have read are great."
The Inn has seven well appointed apartments including three handicapped accessible units for extended stay and three day rooms for single night stays.
"They have a year to work through and save up for their moving on into a new life," said Laura Lynch.
The maximum extended stay is 12 months and the program requires residents maintain a job and pay a small amount for rent.
Cost of rent will be a fraction of what residents would pay elsewhere. Rent will be salary based and set up on a formula to save money.
"This is a transitional home to move folks from one place to another," said Stephens.
The emphasis is on program to help people get through a difficult time from just getting started to getting on their feet after a setback.
Once a week, residents will sit down with Frank and Laura to go over budgets and goals to assess how their doing and provide accountability.
If situations come up at any time, the Lynch's will be available to help.
"We will be living on site," said Laura Lynch. "Instead of having to wait (residents) can knock on your door or call for advice. You're there and your present and you can solve and avoid a lot of problems."
The Lynch's plan to make good use of local resources for assistance in giving residents what they need to become self sufficient.
"We're going to look to the community because this is a community effort here," said Frank Lynch. "It's not just Frank and Laura. We want help from the community."
"We're hoping that this location and the presence of Frank and Laura will be the liaison between resources," said Stephens. "(Frank and Laura) are going to become the resource coordinators. Most people just don't know where to go or who to ask."
People that come to The Inn with little to hope for will find a place to be nurtured and encouraged as they move into the next season of life.
"I'm looking forward to people who are downtrodden being uplifted and seeing a change in spirit, a smile, and a thank you," said Frank Lynch. "Once they've been here and it's time to go, maybe they'll be back and see what they can do to help out with other people."
"It's wonderful to see what can happen when good people come together with the right heart and intention," said Stephens. "I believe the heart of the whole effort will be Frank and Laura. Their passion is to serve God."
For more information about The Inn call 270-866-4661.