One Month at the Ruth and Naomi House

This woman first heard about the Ruth and Naomi House before a house existed.

She had been calling to ask when the new women’s and children’s shelter would open for almost a year before August 5th, 2019 finally rolled around – the day the Ruth and Naomi House would open its doors to our first guests after 15 months of renovations. Finally, the day had come. When she arrived mid-afternoon, operations manager Ashley Demonbreun-Chapman told her every bed was already filled.

Ashley invited her to stick around just in case something opened up, take a shower, and stick around for dinner. Around 6:30, a bed opened up. After a year of calling and waiting, this woman was able to rest easy knowing she had a place to call her own at the Ruth and Naomi House.

That day in early August began a busy month for the entire staff at the Davies Shelters. “Every bed was full within a few hours,” said Executive Director Devon Smyth, “We’ve had to turn away 42 women from the shelter, and we continue to get five or six calls most days. We had to request more beds for children because we didn’t have enough for the four family bedrooms. The outpouring of support from the community has been as tremendous as the need.”

After a hectic first month, both staff and guests at the Ruth and Naomi House are beginning to settle into a routine. Some women have moved on from the shelter and others have arrived. Schedules and procedures and after school snacks have begun to settle into some sense of normalcy. Last week, the women from Ruth and Naomi joined the men from the Shelter to go see the Rome Little Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia.

The woman mentioned at the beginning of the story has thrived since arriving at the Ruth and Naomi House in August. “She was beyond grateful,” according to operations manager Ashley Demonbreun-Chapman, “She obtained a job within the first week of her shelter stay and has continued to be full of gratitude. It seems like she just needed a roof over her head and some stability to really take off and work toward self-sufficiency.”