Focus is winter time help for homeless

Helping those in the Pauls Valley area when freezing temperatures arrive this winter is a main focus of a new group formed with a mission to be there for the homeless.

Electing officers and forming a board was at the top of the priority list of a Monday night meeting for the Hope for Tomorrow for Garvin County nonprofit group.

Equally important was talking about what needs to be done to help the homeless when temperatures do get really cold out there.

“What kind of services do we want to offer those less fortunate,” said Bonnie Meisel, who early on has facilitated the group's meetings.

“We have gotten a lot of good advice about what we could do here.

“The real focus looks to be what to do this winter. We're here to look at Bruce's idea of winter housing. Bruce is right. Winter is coming and how do we help those people.”

The reference is to Pauls Valley pastor Bruce Ford, who is not only right in the middle of the work but is now one of the group's four new officers.

Ford says many homeless choose to be out there, but it's the cold weather that really pushes them to ask for help.

“The homeless in Pauls Valley are addicts,” Ford said.

“People are struggling in life with addiction and they don't mind sleeping out there. When it gets cold I don't think it would be right to just leave them out there.

“They have a lot of issues, but we can't give up on them. Last year they were out there when it was cold. We've got to look at how we're going to do this when it gets cold. When it gets cold out there they need help.”

For now the plan is work toward creating a shelter in Pauls Valley where folks in need can stay on a short-term basis when the winter temps dip down to the dangerously cold levels.

A couple of ideas suggested at the meeting were the gym in Wacker Park, which belongs to the local school district, and the former armory building now owned by Garvin County and mostly used as storage.

Local pastor Neil Barlow, also involved through his work with the Salvation Army and PV Ministerial Alliance, says when there are storms or winter weather there is a need to help homeless people or families whose home lost power find temporary shelter, typically in local hotel or motel rooms.

“If we had a game plan it would be better,” Barlow said.

“With no plan right now I suggest one or several churches be available for people. We have power and water and are open. We could put cots and blankets at them.”

News also came in the group has received its tax ID number and is moving closer to officially being a full nonprofit organization.

During this week's meeting Amy Pack was named the group's president.

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