Happy Birthday, Davies Shelter!
In 2003, Susan Seagraves opened the doors to the Davies Shelter for homeless men in Rome to find shelter, safety, hope, all with dignity, and 100% fueled by the support of Rome/Floyd County. 10 years later, we are still going strong, still 100% Community Supported. We have you to thank for that!
Over the years, a few things have changed:
Originally, the shelter offered a 30 or 60 day stay to our guests. Now, we have a merit-based program, meaning as long as our guests are actively pursuing a better life for themselves by applying for jobs, housing, school, and other opportunities, keeping their commitment to us to volunteer weekly at other agencies in Rome, and continuing to experience a positive benefit from their time at the shelter, we extend their stay until our favorite day around here, Move In Day, where we get to share the joy of seeing them move into a home of their own, helping them attain and transport household items, food and furniture, and getting them settled in before we wish them luck in their new life.
Our original program limited the number of times a person may be a guest at the Davies Shelter to twice in a lifetime. This is no longer the case. We celebrate that our program has grown and offers so much more than it did in the beginning. As such, we believe everyone, whether they have been a guest in the past, deserves a second chance (or maybe more!) at a better life in a safe place with increased opportunity for success, and we have permanently waived this original restriction.
We’re excited to say we have added a computer lab for our guests, where they can apply for jobs online, work on resumes, and learn better computer and keyboarding skills as a part of a weekly program to help get them up to speed in our digital times. They can set up and learn social networking sites to reconnect with family and friends and start building a support network. And they get help with all these things from our amazing volunteers and interns!
Current Location Updates: 228 South Broad Street
As you may have read, the current location of the shelter, which we have rented faithfully since our inception, is in possession of the Bank of the Ozarks in Cartersville as a result of financial difficulties on the part of the owner, and they have chosen to foreclose on the property. We are, at present, uncertain about what this means for us or when we may be able to learn and share that information. You may also know that we have been planning for several years to move to land in East Rome we purchased for the purpose of a new shelter. As we are forced by the bank’s decision to seriously consider our future, we will as always look to our friends in the community for support. You have always come through for the Shelter and those we serve, allowing us to remain 100% community supported and not receive any State or Federal funding, and we know we will be able to count on your support as we look forward. It is our hope that we will be able to remain at our current location to transition directly to our new shelter once it is built.
We will be updating our site to provide ongoing information as we have it with respect to our location and future plans, but also hope you’ll check back with us often as we highlight some of the shelter’s greatest triumphs and happiest success stories during our year-long celebration of 10 Years of Service!
Interested in helping?
Remember the shelter in your giving. Click on our Donate page to get started!
If you are part of a church, know that we are providing a service that your church probably cannot on its own, and so we enable you to extend your ministry.
If you are updating your will, please remember the Davies Shelter in your will, and know that your legacy can include providing for the neediest of those in our community.
Need more information? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Ruthiey for her great service to the Shelter!
Ruthiey had a 14 week internship at the Shelter. While she was here, she made a great impact on the Shelter, its guests, and the staff. She did a detailed organization of the Shelter clothing closet (as well as organizing other areas of the Shelter), updated the “food calendar” (the calendar that lets us and our awesome volunteers know which night they deliver the meal they sponsor), helped guests create countless resumes and job applications, taught them computer and job skills, and a million other things. She went beyond what her internship expected of her, stopping by the Shelter or answering my calls on her off days when I did not know how to handle various situations that arose with the guests.
What is most inspiring to me is that throughout her time here she seemed to keep her love of people and her passion for the service of others in her work. Some of the guests told me that she considered her volunteer time at the Shelter as her down time, and she has told me that she loved every minute of her 14 weeks here. The guests loved being around her and were genuinely encouraged by her while she was here. She seemed to take a real interest in their lives and in what they had to say. At the party celebrating the end of her internship here, she gave out individualized cards to each guest that she had created, which included positive messages from her and every other guest present regarding each specific guest. I know that every person who was a guest at that time felt loved at that party, and I know that for many of them it will be a lasting memory.
Ruthiey sees through the stigma of homelessness and beyond stereotypical labels in a major way and showed that to the Shelter guests during her time here. Though she has already heard this before, on behalf of the Shelter I would like to say thanks to Ruthiey for being such a good intern. She has even come back multiple times to volunteer on her own time. As one guest described her internship here: “she’s Ruthiey.”
Once again, thanks Ruthiey!
In one of my previous post I mentioned the shelter being a physical representation of love, I have been blessed to see love in many shapes and forms. Over the course of the last few weeks God has allowed me to see the Shelter in many different lights. I have seen love flow through this place in the form of warm meals, clothes, shoes, financial support and those who competed and volunteered at the Tri for the Shelter. I have often thought about God’s love for us and how he loved us so much that he allotted us redemption. We have all lost our way at times and been in need of that redemption. These men are here because something in their life went awry, whether their own choice or not, they were not ready for what was to follow. I am just a flawed and simple human with a desired destination of Heaven, but the navigation is difficult, you take a wrong turn and find out the bridge is out, now what? There is no going back…..you are stranded. I like to think of the Bible as my GPS and Jesus as my bridge to Heaven. Well now that I have you all confused on this journey through my blog, here is my comparison!
The shelter serves as a bridge back to life for these men. The shelter is the bridge from one part of life to the next, it goes across the raging river of The raging river is all of the bad things in society, it is moving fast and will take anyone who attempts to cross on their own as a victim. Some of those on the path of life are faced with this raging river because they have taken a wrong turn and have nowhere to go, and then they find the Davies Shelter (the bridge). The William S. Davies Shelter bridges the gap back to a life of self-sufficiency. It also connects them to the community, allows them to find resources, to help them navigate their path when they move out on their own again. The shelter is a type of redemption in their lives.
This was written about a week ago but I am just getting around to posting it, forgive me for my delay. Enjoy!
Today at the Tri for the Shelter I was posted at a turn to help point participants in the right direction. I had a gentleman who joined me there. After a little while of talking he mentioned that he had volunteered at the shelter for a time several years ago. He made the statement that “it was really something. I met all these men and I realized it could have been me just as easily”. This man said something that has crossed my mind daily since I began this journey. Homelessness is something that doesn’t “appear” on many peoples radar because they can’t directly identify with it. They don’t think they could ever be in that situation. Well, I can promise a majority of these guys would have never predicted that they would be bidding goodnight to a house full of homeless men on this beautiful June night.
The kind gentlemen came out to volunteer at the Tri for the Shelter event because the shelter had come to mean something to him. He was there to show his support because he sees the importance of the mission of the William S. Davies Shelter. I believe that if people spent just a few hours here they would really rally and get behind this place because they would see what it is really all about and how easily it could be them or someone they love saying goodnight to a house full of homeless men.
The quote, “Was it you or I who stumbled first? It does not matter. The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other” by Vera Nazzarian, serves as a reminder that this isn’t a time to stand back and point at the fallen, but to take it upon ourselves to help them back up. We do this in hopes and belief that if we ever fall, someone will be there to help us back up.
As I have spent more and more time at the shelter I am reminded of how this place is truly doing what we were commanded to do by Jesus. In Mark 12:31 Jesus says to “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. To me love is not just a noun, it is a verb. When I hear the word love I associate action with it, not just some warm fuzzy feeling. Do we turn a blind eye when we ourselves are hungry? No, we feed ourselves. If we love those around us as ourselves we are helping to meet the needs of others not just our own. That is what is going on at the William S. Davies Shelter. One of the most amazing things to me is this little jewel called “The Food Calendar”; this is how the guys are fed. We have this amazing group of people who are living out loud love for their neighbors, every month they tirelessly deliver a meal to help these men in their journey to self-sufficiency. Part of my work here at the shelter has included updating the food calendar. I have spoken with many of these amazing people on the phone, but what I really wanted to do was reach through the phone and hug them and thank them a million times. I pray each of these who are so precious and vital to us here at the shelter knows just how much of an impact they have, not only on the lives of the guest here, but in the lives of the staff as well.
P.S. And for anyone not currently on the food calendar but who would like to be a part of it you can contact us at the shelter by email: email@example.com or by phone at 706-622-5622.
When people find out I am interning at the shelter I get ask an array of questions. There seems to be several common questions, so tonight I would like to maybe share some of those. This is an opportunity for anyone who is not familiar with the shelter to gain knowledge and see what an important asset to our community it is. So let the top 5 countdown begin:
5.) So who stays there?
Well we are a homeless shelter so we are there for those who are without a place to live or stay, people find themselves in this situation for a variety of reasons. I have not encountered two stories that were the same but for whatever reason all their roads have led here for the moment.
4.) Are there kids?
No, we do not take children or women, we currently only serve the male population.
3.) What do you have to do to stay at the shelter?
There are strict rules for the guest to follow here at the shelter. These rules are in place in the best interest of everyone involved. The guests are required to volunteer outside the shelter at least once weekly. They each have chores they complete on a daily basis and have a 6pm curfew for being to the shelter and 10pm lights out. They are also required to be moving forward toward the goal of self-sufficiency. The guests are required to work on basic computer skills as well as do keyboarding (typing) each week. There are random drug and alcohol testing done and if a guest fails they lose their bed (very rare occurrence).
2.) How long has the shelter been there?
This year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary.
And my all-time favorite question!!!
1.) What does the shelter do? (This is my favorite question because 10 minutes into my explanation they are really wishing they had asked a more specific question.)
Here at the shelter we provide a safe place for these men to lay their head at night. It is a place for a second chance. These guys have come here because they need help to advance into a place of self-sufficiency. They are able to shower and put on clean clothes each day. They come home to a warm and nutritious meal each evening. They also are provided with support in looking for employment, housing, mental and physical medical care, and many other things. We also provide assistance with obtaining necessary documents, driver’s license, and even GED assistance. This list could go on forever but I am going to assume at least a few of you have nodded off to sleep a time or two.
The shelter is so much more than a place to stay; it is a place to advance. I have often described it as a launching pad. This is where they land while they need to evaluate or fix mechanical issues, just a pit stop; they can then launch into the next step of their lives and be better prepared for the day ahead they may face. I see the shelter as an investment opportunity; we are investing in the lives of people, who in turn become investors in our society and community. With that being said I urge each of you to take this opportunity to invest in the shelter and in the lives of those future community investors.
Mr. Davies stopped by tonight and he is just a ball of energy and such a pleasure to be around; always has a smile on his face and love in his heart. After 5 minutes with him you have no trouble understanding why he is the namesake of the shelter. He briefly spoke of his love for this ministry and his hopes for the younger generation, such an inspiring person he is. I have loved my time here at the shelter and feel that I have been truly blessed with this opportunity. I have learned so much in my brief amount of time here, one thing I have received in this time is a new perspective. Most of us strive to be thankful for our blessings, but how often we overlook the simple things that are truly blessings but we never thought of them that way. My experience here at the shelter has been like putting on a pair of glasses, I now see all of the small things that maybe I was missing before. An example of this is the skills I have acquired with computers. By no means am I the most computer savvy however, I am equipped with the skills to turn it on and navigate the web. For many of the guys we see here at the shelter the power button is undiscovered territory, and the web is like a faraway planet. Being able to see these guys grow in their skills is amazing. Tonight I got to witness Greg helping one of the guest sign up for his first email account, really cool thing to see. Each day is a learning experience for both me and the guest. I look forward to what tomorrow holds.