|Paducah Housing Authority|
Location: Paducah, Kentucky, USA
Closed: May 2014
With changing funding priorities and cuts for programs that benefit women and children, we are seeing the elimination of more and more programs of this type.
From the Paducah Cooperative Ministry website:
Housing Authority Terminates PCM Homeless Shelter Lease Agreement
Paducah, KY – The Housing Authority of Paducah notified Paducah Cooperative Ministry that they must terminate the lease agreement that has allowed the use of seven public housing rental units as a homeless shelter for women and children. This action abruptly ended a 24-year partnership between the two agencies in providing shelter space to homeless individuals. According to Housing Authority Executive Director, Cal Ross, the closure is necessary due to changes in HUD regulations.
“The summer months are when our shelter population is at its highest,” said PCM Executive Director, Heidi Suhrheinrich, “Many families can exist temporarily doubled up with other families or friends during the school year, but the pressure of so many people under one roof often explodes with the onset of summer vacations. We just don’t know where these folks are going to go. We need a solution as quickly as possible.”
According to Suhrheinrich, PCM has been unable to assist homeless women and homeless women with children since receiving the May 6th Housing Authority directive not to accept any new clients, “PCM has already had to turn down 11 single women and 13 mothers with a total of 29 children.”
In 2013, PCM served 63 single woman as well as 42 mothers accompanied by 79 children. In addition to providing a safe place to sleep, PCM seeks to break the cycle of homelessness by providing support services and counseling in the areas of mental health, landlord/tenant relationships, money management, parenting and life skills education. The PCM Shelter is the only shelter in the eight county Purchase Area that houses homeless single women (emphasis added). Only one other regional shelter serves single mothers with children. PCM routinely receives referrals from area agencies including McCracken County High School, DCBS Family Support Office, Paducah City Schools Homeless Resources program, Probation and Parole, the Four Rivers Behavioral Health Crisis Unit and others.
“Unfortunately, the problem of homelessness does not end with the closure of the PCM Shelter; homeless women and children will return to the street because there is nowhere else to go,” said Suhrheinrich, “the closing of the shelter is not just a PCM concern, but a community concern.”
Suhrheinrich asks for help and input from the community on other possible spaces in which the shelter might operate.