While St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter has various needs that the community can assist with throughout the year, there is none more important than that of bed sponsorship. On Nov. 1, the men’s shelter will not only experience its first day of operation as a 24-hour shelter, but they will also be launching their annual online bed sponsorship campaign.
“A 24-hour men’s facility means our guys do not have to leave every day and go out in the weather and can obtain third shift jobs,” said St. Benedict’s Executive Director Harry Pedigo. “It will not just give them a place to stay for the night, but now it gives them a place to be during the day with a purpose and an opportunity for counseling.”
Last year, St. Benedict’s invited members of the community to partner with them with the goal of obtaining 200 bed sponsors. This year their goal has increased to 250 bed sponsors as funds will be used to care for and provide services to, not just individuals from the men’s facility, but also the new women and families facility.
“We serve about 520 a year just in the men’s facility,” Pedigo said. “But we look to serve at least 150-200 single women and families per year at the new shelter.”
The yearly cost to sponsor one bed is $500, the equivalent of less than $1.37 a day, which has helped fund operational costs, bed linens, personal grooming products, showers and the cost of medication for residents. With the additional services that St. Benedict’s will be able to provide with a 24-hour men’s shelter and women and families shelter, Pedigo said funds can also be used to cover the fees associated with counseling and treatment, as well as the cost of first and last month’s rent and utility payments.
Pedigo anticipates St. Benedict’s new Women and Family Services shelter at 905 Hickman Ave. opening at some point during the month of December. He hopes the new shelter will offer targeted case management, start incorporating more life skills and job preparedness classes, as well as parenting classes.
“We will provide a lot of accountability, but a lot of services too — it’s a new venture for us,” Pedigo said. “The day-to-day operation will be really focused on outreach and prevention. We want to help as many as we can stay in their homes while providing resources for them. If we can keep them in their home, that’s a win-win for everybody.”
In the meantime, the existing men’s shelter recently underwent an extensive renovation in order to prepare for the transition to a 24-hour shelter.
“We had large bunks which really ate up our whole facility,” Pedigo said. “We partnered with Castlen Steel and the Daviess County Detention Center. They made us all new bunks, which allowed us to open up the facility even more. We now have a commons area and divider curtains where guys can sleep during the day.”
According to Pedigo, the current residents have been grateful for the new changes, and have taken pride in the organization of their new space.
“The way it was was chaotic and wasn’t conducive to a culture of fostering self-esteem,” Pedigo said. “The renovations have raised the morale and confidence of a lot of the guys.”
Bed sponsorships can be paid in full or by 12 monthly installments of $41.67. Those interested in bed sponsorship can visit St. Benedict’s website or call the shelter at 270-541-1003.