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Henderson Dispatch Editorial

posted Sep 19, 2016, 1:56 PM by Jane King

People like Kenny Blackwell and Darryl Jones remind us of why we need safety nets in our society and the value of being given a second chance.

Both Blackwell and Jones are the new co-managers at the emergency men’s shelter. They know the path the shelter’s residents are traveling. Both Blackwell and Jones have been homeless and got their lives back on track with the help of others. Both men also now want to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances.

The men’s emergency shelter serves a vital role in this community, along with Hope House, which provides transitional housing (and through which Jones traveled on his way back to a more stable life).

The shelter opens its doors Nov. 1 through March 31, with intake from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The men staying must leave by 6:30 a.m.

Our one wish would be that the shelter could keep its doors open longer, but it requires a lot of community support to do just what it is doing now.

Volunteers are needed to staff the shelter overnight. The men receiving assistance from the shelter need toiletries, food and minimal clothing items. It takes monetary donations to keep the lights on and to buy supplies.

For some, the shelter will just be a temporary stop as they pass through, or a bed on an occasional night that is too raw to stand. But for others — like Blackwell and Jones — the reminder that people care about them, that there is help and hope may help guide them back to a more stable life, with family and friends surrounding them.

Blackwell’s and Jones’ stories offer insight and help promote understanding. We hope people in the community will get to know them through volunteering at the shelter and also as members of our community. Their stories are the most compelling motivation for supporting services offered by the men’s shelter; they are proof the shelter and Hope House provide hope for the future.