Homeless Shelter Is Forced To Close During The Day

Funding problems have forced an eastern Kentucky homeless shelter to close during the day.

At a time when more than 50 new people have turned to the shelter for a place to stay since January.

The Bell County Emergency Center's Director is asking for the public's help to operate the shelter 24 hours a day.

Bell County Emergency Shelter Director Richard Witherite sometimes works 24-hour shifts to help people in crisis situations.

“Richard's a good man. He goes as far as he can to help somebody,” William Ball said.

Now Witherite is having a crisis of his own. At Tuesday night's public meeting, he explained he needs more than 60-thousand dollars to keep the shelter open 24 hours a day. Something his budget hasn't allowed since 2005.

“Some people don't understand why maybe they'll go by the shelter and somebody will be standing in the street or waiting to get in,” Witherite said.

Waiting, because the Whitherite can only pay enough staff to open at 4 in the afternoon, and close at 8 in the morning.

Witherite is counting on those here to help him recruit donors or volunteers to work during the day.

“Somebody may not be able to give money to the shelter but they could give time,” Ball said.

Officials say he's relying on people to contribute whatever they can, to help their neighbors in need.

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


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  • by rather not say Location: bell county on Feb 2, 2008 at 08:16 AM
    This shelter is a joke they do kick everyone out during the day no matter how cold it is they still force everyone out into the cold. What is even worse is half the time there isnt any food in the fridge or anything to drink. Some of the people that work there are heartless and cruel while others are a lil more caring. They say that they help people find jobs and homes but I have yet to see them do anything of that nature. People go to a homeless shelter to get help and to try to get back on their feet but the only help there getting is a place to sleep at night and nothing more. I have personally stayed in the shelter myself and I think that they could be a lil more kind to people and not treat them like convicts. I also believe that they should help people to get back out in society and not just throw them out after 30 days with no where else to go. I also dont believe its right for the workers to take things home that are donated to the shelter for the homeless not for the employees.
  • by Not Saying Location: Bell Co. on Sep 19, 2007 at 12:03 PM
    I have never known of the homeless shelter in Bell Co. to be open during the daytime hours. I am employed for another public agency in Bell Co., who serves the same clients as the Homeless Shelter, the clients tell us that they are forced to go out during the daytime hours in search of employment, which would be fine, but there are only so many hours a person can 'walk' around town doing this, especially if they have children and especially when it's too hot or too cold outside. The people who run the homeless shelter are the most heartless, uncaring people I have ever had the displeasure of working with.
  • by Clem Location: KY on Sep 19, 2007 at 10:48 AM
    Closed for the day??? Dang, now them freeloaders might have to go out and get a job. If I was the nice guy running this place, I'd keep it closed during the day anyway; its almost like enabling. You give them everything and they don't wanna do nothing. I agree, make them work. If they don't have a home they can at least become part of the staff and that can pay for their room so he don't have to hire anybody.
  • by Anonymous Location: Kentucky on Sep 19, 2007 at 04:09 AM
    when taking people in to keep why not let them work to pay for there stay..but as we know most just wants a free place to stay..for there always something anyone can do to get money for a place to stay a night..but why work when you can get it free

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