New homeless shelter plans in the works

Benny Westcott

The Family Assistance Center (FAC) is in the process of coming up with the rules and regulations for a more substantial homeless shelter in the Sweet Home Community, said Larry Horton, a Sweet Home Community Health Committee member who attended that group’s meeting at City Hall on March 15.

Horton said that a site for the new shelter has not yet been found, but that “It looks like there is some progress being made toward coming up with a location.”

He said that there are 10 to 12 homeless people living at the shelter behind the Church of Nazarene currently.

“Ten have already moved on to families or friends, and are actually living with somebody right now,” Horton said. “So that’s a real positive.”

“The less desirables, from what I understand, are gone. I hope the chief feels that is the case,” said Horton, referencing Sweet Home Police Chief Jeff Lynn, who sat in on the meeting.

“They have not had the problems that they had two or three weeks ago,” Horton continued. “It’s my understanding that those people are gone.”

As people are moving out, the tents and the foundations that they sit on are being removed and stored, he said. Those were built by the Rotary Club and other volunteers late last year, to provide warmer, dryer living conditions for homeless residents.

“The process of phasing out the camp is on its way,” said Horton.

Bethanie Young, the pastor at the Church of Nazarene, hopes that the camp will be totally disbanded by March 26.

Since there is a relatively small number of people at the homeless encampment, the church is now allowing access to its showers on Mondays for the encampment residents, and Sweet Home Emergency Ministries (SHEM) is working on letting the homeless get access to facilities for laundering their clothes.