• 39°

Homeless Coalition needs volunteers, donations

Offering love but not enabling, the Jessamine County Homeless Coalition serves the community by giving those in need more than just a place to stay, according to executive director Johnny Templin.

In business for the past year, JCHC is located at 218 E. Maple St. and offers emergency stay and 90-day case management programs funded by individuals, businesses, churches and grants. More than a place for temporary shelter, Templin said JCHC also offers those in need three meals a day, life skills classes, laundry and showers.

In its first year of service, JCHC has offered services to 270 residents, with 6,600 “nights of safe shelter,” serving more than 22,000 meals and has made it possible for 60 people to obtain safe housing in the community.

“Our current stats in Jessamine County has 70 chronically homeless adults and nearly 400 homeless school children,” Templin said. “JCHC believes the number will stay the same next year or longer.”

Templin said that, although unemployment is improving, help is becoming scarce and he sees no end in sight. The highest need for help, he said, was in October.

Although, according to Templin, there are just as many life-threatening days throughout the rest of the year when individuals in Jessamine County require help.

“We are currently 100 percent volunteer-run, and Lord willing we will stay that way,” Templin said. “We currently have 10 volunteers but we could use 10 more.”

An area most in need of volunteers Templin said is with admission staff. Those who volunteer in this area with JCHC are shift supervisors and generally the first person a potential resident engages with. This person, he said, is responsible for checking their belongings in and going over shelter rules. Fundraising and marketing teams are also needed, as well as individuals available to volunteer to teach life skills classes.

“A person needs to have an outgoing personality and be over 18,” Templin said. “Life skills classes can be (anything) from resume building and how to be successful during an interview, to financial management and cooking on a budget.”

The biggest reason for homelessness in Jessamine County, Templin said, is a loss of income.

“Seventy percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck,” Templin said. “We are just days away from being homeless ourselves. JCHC offers life-saving support such as shelter and food, but mostly we offer encouragement and a loving hand.”

Currently, JCHC is in need of donations including items such as food, household cleaners and disposable dinnerware such as Styrofoam plates, cups and bowels. Those who wish to help can do so by sponsoring a bed for $50 a month. Templin said JCHC will mount a plaque on that bed recognizing the contribution.

“When possible, please donate,” Templin said. “Spread the word about JCHC. We desire to speak to any group from huge church to small business. Send a letter or email our local politicians. They can help us be stable with more guaranteed funds.”

For more information, call 859-270-6919, email info@jchcky.com or stop by 218 E. Maple St.