There are times when we wonder whether we give enough credit to community leaders across our area for all the good they do.
The people who planned and organized a new transitional housing facility in Sterling are among those who deserve a great deal of credit for their efforts to help women and children in need.
We speak of the new Safe Haven Home for Women, which officially opened May 1.
In a previous life, the building, at 507 W. Third St., served as the original PADS homeless shelter.
It now provides transitional housing for women and children “who find themselves homeless due to traumatic abuse, domestic violence, abrupt family separations, or for women leaving drug treatment who need a safe environment to work on their recovery,” as Rock Falls Police Chief Tammy Nelson put it.
The need for such a safe haven is great, not in least part because of women who are trying to rid themselves of drug addictions through the relatively new Safe Passages program.
When they complete Safe Passages drug treatment, women, some with children in tow, often need a place to stay where they won’t find themselves back in the same unfavorable environment where their drug abuse began.
Safe Haven Home for Women provides that, and more.
The program is ministry-based, according to Christie Lenox, executive director of Safe Haven, and is similar to a transitional housing program for men operated in Rock Falls by Firehouse of God Ministries.
Women who go to Safe Haven must comply with several rules: stay drug-free, go to church weekly, attend an on-site Bible study weekly, and participate in a life skills program. Unemployed residents must look for work and take training in job skills.
All are sensible requirements with the goal of helping women to get a new start toward being happy and productive members of society.
Along with Nelson and Lenox, who is also founder of Yeshua’s Grace Ministries, Brian Tribley of Firehouse of God Ministries has put forth a great deal of effort toward getting Safe Haven off the ground. Other people have volunteered their labor on renovating the house and helping to staff it. Pastor John Mattingly of New Hope Bible Church of Como serves in an advisory capacity.
Numerous referrals to Safe Haven have already been made by police departments, the YWCA, Tri-County Opportunities Council, and others – so it’s clear that the need exists.
Funding, however, is a concern. Some churches have stepped up to help financially. In normal times, the state might be expected to assist, but with no state budget for nearly 2 years, these are not normal times.
Community members and organizations could be of great service to this fledgling facility by providing financial sponsorships. We encourage individuals and groups to give the idea serious consideration.
Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 1194, Sterling, IL 61081; or made through the website yeshuasgrace.com. Contact 815-622-8463 for more information.
We’d like to give credit to all the people who were determined to provide a safe haven to women and children in need, and then went out, worked hard, and did it.
On behalf of the community, thank you.