Po­lice sub­sta­tion to open in Sudlersville

Record Observer - - Front Page - By CHRISTOPHER KERSEY ck­ersey@ches­pub.com

CH­ESTER — Haven Min­istries will shortly be wrap­ping up its win­ter sea­son, which the di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions con­sid­ers one of the home­less shel­ter’s busiest, in­clud­ing a time when it was at ca­pac­ity with 15 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 10 chil­dren.

“We’ve had busy years, but not this con­sis­tent and got this many chil­dren be­fore,” said Sandi Wis­cott, the shel­ter’s di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions and case man­ager.

She said the guests come in and tran­si­tion out. “This time, it took longer be­cause of the needs be­ing greater. They need to find the jobs and day care,” she said.

The shel­ter opened for the sea­son Dec. 1, 2016, and nor­mally stops tak­ing guests the first or sec­ond Satur­day in April, but this year, the shel­ter has ex­tended its time to re­ceive guests be­cause of the need. The last night this year will be April 25.

On Fri­day, April 7, the shel­ter was at ca­pac­ity. On Mon­day, April 10, Wis­cott said a fam­ily moved out of state, but will come back to the shel­ter and re­trieve their fur­ni­ture from the lo­cal home where they couldn’t pay the rent and be­came home­less.

Some guests work at a job, their kids go to school or are in day care. Some­times a schol­ar­ship is do­nated to en­able the chil­dren to at­tend day care which en­ables the par­ent to go to work or find em­ploy­ment. Af­ter that, they are able to find hous­ing. “But that process takes time,” Wis­cott said.

Men are al­lowed at the shel­ter, but this year, the guests have been mostly women and chil­dren. If men stay at the shel­ter, par­ti­tions are used in the bed­ding area.

The shel­ter gives the guests hope af­ter the guests lost ev­ery­thing. “It takes a while to build up hope for them and as they grad­u­ally see that things can be dif­fer­ent. They look at things and know that it’s hope­ful,” she said.

The shel­ter con­sists of two rooms on the sec­ond floor of the Kent Is­land United Methodist Church on Cox Neck Road in Ch­ester. One room has bunk beds and a baby bed. The other has a liv­ing room, din­ing room, and a par­tial kitchen in one room.

The kitchen doesn’t have a stove or sink, but in­stead a mi­crowave. Vol­un­teers bring up food from the church kitchen, guests re­ceive a bagged lunch, and din­ner is served when they get back.

At first when the shel­ter opened, it had a few peo­ple come in, but it grad­u­ally built up to a con­sis­tent 10 to 12, and then at ca­pac­ity.

If the guests aren’t work­ing, they can go to the li­brary, the col­lege, or the re­source room com­plete with com­put­ers at St. Paul’s Epis­co­pal Church in Cen­tre­ville. Haven Min­istries ex­panded its reach in Queen Anne’s County by open­ing the re­source cen­ter at St. Paul’s, of­fer­ing ser­vices to res­i­dents who need in­for­ma­tion on fi­nan­cial coun­sel­ing, job train­ing, well­ness, lim­ited pas­toral coun­sel­ing and en­rich­ment classes.

Haven Min­istries has a van. If the guests come by van from the re­source room, they can come back to the shel­ter at 4:30 p.m. Other peo­ple check in be­tween 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

When work­ing, the guests can take their chil­dren to day care at a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion, or their chil­dren can at­tend school or some­times the par­ents can take their chil­dren to the re­source cen­ter. So­cial Ser­vices helps with eval­u­at­ing the adult guests and of­fer­ing job train­ing, some­times at the re­source cen­ter or at the So­cial Ser­vices’ lo­ca­tion.

The guests aren’t re­quired to at­tend church on Sun­day, but they can go to the church where the shel­ter is lo­cated or to another church. In the list of churches the shel­ter has, they can get a ride there.

Dur­ing the week, there are Bi­ble study ses­sions and de­vo­tions where some­one from a church will give them a ride if needed.

About 250 peo­ple vol­un­teer for the shel­ter, help­ing in the kitchen, driv­ing the van, or as­sist­ing at the re­source room or at the thrift store.

“The main thing is we try to es­tab­lish hope for a bet­ter fu­ture and not be home­less,” Wis­cott said.

PHOTO BY CHRISTOPHER KERSEY

Sandi Wis­cott, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Haven Min­istries, shows the bed­room where the guests stay at the home­less shel­ter in­side Kent Is­land United Methodist Church in Ch­ester.

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