Agencies discuss homeless shelter

Olivia Medovich
Staff writer

Nonprofit agencies, concerned individuals and city council members are determined to establish a homeless shelter in Murray to help people in need.

The Calloway United Benevolent Services (CUBS) held its quarterly meeting on Wednesday to discuss expanding a homeless task force to address the need for a shelter.

The task force started in 2011.

Representatives from agencies such as Needline, local food bank; The Gentry House, local shelter for families; United Way, an organization that provides funding for other nonprofits; and Angels Attic, local thrift shop, attended the meeting to express concern for Murray’s homeless population.

Local agencies have to send people who need shelter out of town.

In Murray, there is not an obvious homeless need. People are not pushing shopping carts on the sidewalk or sleeping on park benches, so it can be easy to overlook this problem.

However, there is a homeless population in Murray continuing to grow. In Calloway County 21.8 percent of people live below the poverty rate.

There are 51 identified homeless students in the city schools as of right now, according to Donna Herndon, board chair for CUBS.

Murray does have a warming center, where people are only allowed to stay overnight, however doors have been kept closed lately due to a lack of volunteers.

Herndon said it is vital the need is met.

“We have homeless people in Murray,” Herndon said. “That’s a reality. If indeed we are Christian people and we care about our fellow man, I believe we have a responsibility to provide because the cost of living is high.”

She said approximately 15 to 20 people signed up to be a part of the homeless task force at the meeting.

“That says a lot about the people there and the concerns they have for our community,” Herndon said.

There is some concern if a shelter was to be built, some people might try to abuse the situation.

John Dale, evangelist at the Glendale Church of Christ, said the goal for the task force is to help people who are willing to help themselves. He said whatever the number of homeless in Murray, a change must occur to help the helpless.

“These are people not numbers,” Dale said. “You have to start somewhere.”

Dale said there is a possible location for the shelter near Nash Drive in Murray. The shelter would be located near the Housing Office for Murray State and the Gentry House Shelter.

“We are on the verge of something that is really and truly outstanding for this community and we need it,” he said. “We don’t have it at the level that we need it and we do have the ability to do it.”

The Community Concerns and Needs will meet at 7:30 a.m. Friday, March 30 at Glendale Church of Christ. Those interested in community issues such as the task force are invited to attend.