City of Hot Springs gathering resources to shelter more of the homeless population

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – As the number of homeless people in the state of Arkansas continues to grow, one city is working to provide a place for them.

The City of Hot Springs was already given money to build a quarantine shelter. Now they want to use it for both quarantining and to house those on the streets.

In a city with more than 300 living on the streets, those in need have nowhere to go.

“To not have a homeless shelter is unthinkable,” Cooperative Christian Ministries Executive Director Kim Carter said.

“It is devastating when you get a call and someone is saying we have this person here who needs an emergency shelter where do we send them and you know we don’t have anywhere,” Homeless volunteer Sally Carder said.

Kim and Sally have been working with the homeless for decades and have seen how covid has only increased the need for housing.

“We need a place where we can quarantine and care for people who are without shelter,” Carter said.

“This is one of the board’s primary goals for 2021 which makes it one of my primary goals,” City Manager Bill Burrough said.

According to Burrough, the city received money to build a quarantine shelter. Now they are going to combine that with other federal funds to create a place for those in need whether they are sick or not..

“Either purchase a building that we could retro fit for a shelter or a piece of property we may be able to put a structure on,” Burrough said.

While the city is putting up the cash, it will be run by different organizations and non-profits.

“A point of access, a place for us to have constant communication and contact with our homeless folks,” Carder said.

From mental health, rehabilitation classes, and even just how to get an I-D all those resources will be under one roof.

“You can’t get a job without a driver’s license but to get a driver’s license you have to have a birth certificate,” Carter said.

“We’re going to provide those training wheels all the way through this process,” Carder said.

The goal is to have each person who walks through the door walk out and not come back.

“They have a chance to really make it,” Carder said.

The city is currently working on the floor plans plus getting more information from other shelters across the state and country.

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