LOCAL CHURCH WORKING TO BRING EMERGENCY HOUSING FOR WOMEN

A local church is helping women escape domestic violence, homelessness and tackle other obstacles in life. First Baptist Church of Ensley Pastor Jeffrey Henry said the church is providing homeless women with overlooked necessities. “There will be times in the winter where I would drive the homeless back to their camps and we would see women get out of our vehicles into brutal cold conditions and it broke our hearts,” said Pastor Henry. Every week the church serves dozens of homeless men and women who are without a place to stay. “We’re just a facility that wants to be used,” Henry added. Pastor Henry said now church members want to use the second floor of the church as a transitional shelter for women who are recovering from drug addiction and abuse. “We know we can have 16 beds. Sixteen women could stay here and be apart of the program at one time and we need to go ahead and up the fire code, which means we will probably need sprinkler systems in this part of the church,” Henry added. The program will be called A Future and A Hope. Women in the shelter will get help with finding jobs, finishing their education, and getting access to support groups to help them get back on their feet. Sonja Parker has attended First Baptist Church of Ensley for four years. She says their vision is an ambitious one. “As you can see, we’re going to be doing some renovations in this upstairs facility, this would be a bedroom for one of our guests,” Parker said. But her gut reaction is that the church can pull it off. “There is a lot to do in terms of bringing this up to something that is acceptable for them. We’re not charging them anything, we just want to help direct a life for them and direct them to Christ,” Parker said. Pastor Henry said the church is planning for renovations this fall. He said in order to bring the building up to fire codes a sprinkler system and a fire exit will need to be installed. The church is in the process of raising money and is looking to businesses and individuals for support.

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