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Monday, May 2, 2016

Reality hits: A-Way Home shelter closed until 2012

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The A-Way Home shelter may be down, but it's not out.

The shelter closed its doors to the homeless and others in need Friday afternoon, but that does not mean A-Way Home is out of business.

"We're closed," Greencastle Housing Authority Executive Director Debbie Zigler told the Banner Graphic Friday, "but we're not totally gone yet."

Plans are for the shelter to remain closed to the public for the remainder of 2011 and then reopen sometime in 2012.

In the meantime, the shelter board is focused on regrouping, reorganizing and re-energizing A-Way Home, its funding expectations and realities, and themselves.

In fact as early this coming week, an outside consultant will be meeting with the shelter board and some members of the community to help plot the future of A-Way Home.

"Right now the reality is starting to sink in," Zigler said Friday. "We've been getting a lot of phone calls this week like 'I been hearing the rumors you're closing, is it true?' Unfortunately, yes it is," she said.

By noon Friday, only two of the 22 residents of the shelter the past two weeks remained. One of them was merely waiting for a ride to pick him up while the other was at an appointment and would only return only to retrieve belongings.

"All the residents were to be out by 5 p.m. Friday," Zigler said, noting that all the families that had been staying at A-Way Home in recent days and weeks have been able to rent living quarters.

Individuals, she said, have turned to family and friends, although some were forced to move to other shelters outside Putnam County.

Since the A-Way Shelter opened in July 1996, it has served more than 2,400 people, averaging 15 or 16 residents per day (with a high of 35 and a low of two people over the years), Zigler said.

She and her staff were busy Friday closing down the portion of the building beyond the office area of the Housing Authority, which will remain open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All food items with perishable dates listed will be given to the Putnam County Emergency Food Pantry, she noted.

Essentially, the shelter's financial situation is a byproduct of the same difficult economic times that have put many a resident in the facility at 309 E. Franklin St., Greencastle.

Federal cuts have curtailed the funding the Greencastle Housing Authority (parent agency of A-Way Home) receives, which in turn has severely impacted the shelter's budget. Additionally, funding received from United Way has been cut in half over the past five years.

The shelter's overall budget, including salaries (for one fulltime position and seven part-timers), insurance, maintenance, supplies and utilities has been $127,000.

Zigler said the shelter has "things in the works," including a grant application to the Putnam County Community Foundation and some potential funding and fundraising sources and ideas.

"But nothing happens very fast," she conceded.

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It's sad to see the shelter close,it was a life saver to so many people.

-- Posted by obeone on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 11:50 AM

I see that some of the people left for other counties help centers; odd that ours never had to import people from other counties to remain open and federally funded, (and locally funded). I feel sorry for those people who will probably never get out of the free hand out programs. And why did we need one, if it was down to just two people?

-- Posted by alfr1 on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 12:05 PM

I agree with alfr1. It would be interesting to see a list of prior residents, based on nothing more than their origin. It has been rumored that the majority of folks assisted by the shelter were not from here, nor had ties to Putnam County. Most were referred here from other communities.

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Sun, Sep 11, 2011, at 10:26 PM

We made a donation from a local club, sadly that day not one person was from Putnam County for a photo for the Banner. The idea of a shelter is a good goal, however the fact of the matter is the county is too small to fund such a place.

-- Posted by NeverChanges on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 5:31 AM

What part of "Federal cuts have curtailed the funding..." does Benedick not understand? This has nothing to do with the State of Indiana or our governor. This shelter never was state funded or should it be politicized. If anyone is to blame for lack of funding, we need to look no further than our own backyard, as Putnam County contributed nothing to its annual budget, but the City of Greencastle did.

-- Posted by rosco&ginger on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 9:40 AM

most people there were from out of county. not resident who ended up homeless. oh yeah and boyfriends that got kicked out of there baby mama's housing.

-- Posted by hardtobelieve on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 1:12 PM

Do the offices in the Court House Annex still need a place to relocate to?? They are about to become homeless.

-- Posted by dumpsterdiva2 on Mon, Sep 12, 2011, at 6:12 PM

I am sorry to hear this story, especially with winter on the way, its such a shame , god bless their souls for helping the homeless for as long as they have and when all else we need to pray because God does answer all prayers

-- Posted by ironmaiden on Wed, Sep 14, 2011, at 6:08 PM

This makes me so sad...

-- Posted by BlackBarbie22 on Fri, Sep 16, 2011, at 2:30 PM

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