Clarksville, TN – Safe Place, a new transitional center to help homeless families, was dedicated Wednesday by Urban Ministries and the City of Clarksville.
Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan; Beverly Dycus, Executive Director of Urban Ministries/Clarksville; Clarksville Director of Housing & Community Development Keith Lampkin; and Sherry Smith, senior housing coordinator for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency; joined with a crowd of about 60 citizens to dedicate the facility and celebrate the new community resource.
Safe Place, a $460,000 facility at 815 Crossland Avenue, designed by local architect Pam Powell, will provide living space, counseling and stabilization services for up to four families at a time.
This type of center was identified as a critical need to help families break the cycle of homelessness during a Homeless Solutions Forum sponsored by Mayor McMillan and the City of Clarksville.
“I’m so happy that the City of Clarksville was able to join with Urban Ministries and provide this new resource to help stabilize and lift up homeless families,” Mayor Kim McMillan said. “As I said at the forum months ago, by working together, we can do more to reach out to people in need and to maximize the available resources. I’m thrilled that city was able to be a catalyst in this effort.”
The Clarksville City Council approved purchase and renovation of the building using mostly Community Development Block Grant funding and some Tennessee Housing Development Agency resources. United Methodist Urban Ministries/Clarksville will manage Safe Place and provide services.
Urban Ministries, at 217 South Third Street, has a 32-year history of serving needs in Clarksville. It operates the Grace Assistance Program, a drop-in center that provides emergency shelter, food, clothing and essential personal items. It also operates SafeHouse, a domestic violence shelter.
“In pursuing our work, we saw a tremendous need for transitional services for families, and this center has been one of our goals for a long time,” Dycus said. “Each family will be assigned a case manager who will work with them closely to help find employment and other services. The goal is to move families from homelessness to permanency.”
Dycus said Urban Ministries will form an advisory committee for Safe Place Family Transitional Center, which will open formally in a few weeks.
“This has been an exciting process from the ground up, from the grant writing to the planning. We are grateful to the City of Clarksville for seeing this need and giving us advice and support. Now we need to furnish and staff the center, and we invite churches and civic groups to join in and help,” Dycus said.
Anyone wishing to donate to Safe Place should contact Dycus at Urban Ministries, 931.648.9090, or visit the agency’s website: www.clarksvilleurbanminisries.com
THDC’s Smith commended Mayor McMillan, the City of Clarksville and Urban Ministries. “Thanks to Mayor McMillan for being proactive and pulling all this together,” Smith said. “But this is just the beginning. Homeless families and kids need this help, but they really want a home, and that is the goal. This opens the door for other stakeholders – especially landlords and businesses — to step up. This now belongs to the whole community.”