Seven local homeless shelters received $48,000 in donations from the Greater Owensboro Realtor Association’s Aid the Homeless foundation. On Nov. 14, Aid the Homeless celebrated Check Presentation Day by going door-to-door to the seven homeless shelters and presenting each nonprofit their check.
Shelters that received donations included the Boulware Mission, CrossRoads, St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter, Oasis Women’s Shelter, Adrienne’s House, Daniel Pitino Shelter and St. Joseph’s Peace Mission.
With the donations from Aid the Homeless, local shelters are not required to use the funds for specific purposes, which is beneficial for them in being able to spend the donations on much-needed components that allow each shelter to stay in business.
“The money donated through Aid the Homeless is not earmarked for any particular use the way grants often are,” said Matt Shown, Communication Assistant for Greater Owensboro Realtor Association.
According to Thad Gunderson, Director of the Daniel Pitino Shelter, it’s incredibly important that shelters receive these donations so that the funds can be used for things that often get overlooked.
“It doesn’t sound very exciting, but this donation would go into our general fund — salaries, utilities, taxi rides, blankets, fueling the truck to pick up donations,” Gunderson said. “We spend $50,000 a year on heating and cooling the building.”
Gunderson added that the donations received would likely pay for utility costs first, due to the need and the high expenses of providing heat and air for the 65 residents the Pitino Shelter houses, as well as the additional residents who come in each day for the 300 meals served by the shelter.
Michele Ison is the Executive Director of CrossRoads, and she says the Aid the Homeless donations will be used in similar fashion to the Pitino Shelter.
“Most grants don’t let you use the money for those things — utilities and operations,” Ison said. “We have to make sure we have heat to keep the women warm.”
Both Ison and Gunderson said that, without Aid the Homeless, their shelters literally could not stay afloat. It’s up to the donations made by others to keep these shelters’ basic needs from running out.
“One time, someone sent us a donation to buy a washing machine, that was all they wanted us to spend the money on,” Ison said. “I kept thinking, ‘You know, you have to pay for the plumbing to have the washing machine installed, and you have to pay for the labor and the extra costs to run it.”
In the end, Ison decided CrossRoads couldn’t afford to install a washing machine, but they have since added a dryer to their facility. Due to the required costs of keeping a washing machine at their location, Ison said she had to decide against it.
However, Gunderson and Ison are more than grateful for what Aid the Homeless has helped them accomplish. The organization has raised more than $300,000 for local area shelters over the last six years.
“Without gifts — like, from Aid the Homeless — we wouldn’t be able to survive,” Gunderson said.
“They are so enthusiastic, and you can tell they really care,” Ison said.