Future Of Emergency Shelter Is Uncertain

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

The Bell County Emergency Shelter gives about 30 homeless people a safe place to sleep every month, but with its small budget and few volunteers its future is in jeopardy.

WYMT’s Marie Luby talked to a man who credits the shelter with turning his life around...and is now doing his part to keep it open.

Bill Ball lost his job and his home on the same day in August. With no family or friends to turn to for help, he went to the Bell County Emergency Shelter.

“I would've been sleeping in the woods,” Ball said.

Ball spent his nights here while he looked for a new job during the day.

Last month the shelter's former director asked Ball to fill in for a few night shifts no one was able to cover.

“They might have had to close the doors and I wasn't going to let that happen, especially not after they helped me,” Ball said.

Ball's determination to help turned into 28 hours a week of volunteering, on top of 35 hours a week working at McDonald's.

“If he hadn't been here to help out and fill in all those hours, we wouldn't have anybody to be here with the people..you won't be able to keep the doors open that way,” David Deitsch said.

But even with volunteers like Ball, the shelter is still in trouble. It needs a new director and case manager. There's no one to keep the shelter open during the daytime hours.

“We live a lot on donations here. But it's not really enough to keep the daily operation going,” Ball said.

Ball says he has a special reason to donate so much of his time.

With winter less than a month away, Ball hopes more volunteers can help bring others in from the cold.

To find out how you can help, call the shelter at 606-337-5519.


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