Living in the home of the homeless

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Radcliff church to offer homelessness experience

By Amber Coulter

A Radcliff church working to open a homeless shelter is hosting an event this weekend to raise money for the project and help sponsors and residents understand the challenges facing those who are homeless.

Organizers for the Heart of Hope Homeless Shelter being built in the basement of Powerhouse of Praise and Deliverance Center are asking shelter sponsors and residents to join in an event beginning at 6 p.m. Friday to experience homelessness.

For the free event, participants meet at the church on North Dixie Boulevard. Groups will spend time on U.S. 31W and Wilson Road to draw attention to the cause before sleeping on the church grounds and dispersing at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Participants are asked to bring only the clothes on their backs and sleeping bags. They also are encouraged to bring donations of new socks, underwear and other articles that can help shelter guests once the facility opens.

Challenges they’ll have to deal with include walking to use public restrooms.

They’ll also be asked to write journal entries during the night about how they’re feeling.

Towanda Hope, pastor, hopes the event helps participants develop compassion for future shelter guests and relate to issues the guests know too well.

“I think if we could give a sense of what it is to be homeless to people who have not experienced homelessness that we can get it opened with no problem and quickly because they’ll see how needed it is,” she said.

Shelter board members hoped the facilty would open this month. Work remains to be done, including putting up walls, adding floors and finishings and installing a generator, heating and air.

Officials estimate the work requires another $20,000.

There has been support during the project, primarily from people who have been affected directly or indirectly by homelessness, Hope said.

She wants this weekend’s event to remind residents homelessness can affect anyone.

Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746 

or acoulter@thenewsenterprise.com.