Editorial

New havens will need continued support

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bedford County residents boast a long history of coming through for others when the need arises.

In this season of giving, that tradition of support has again been proven true.

Halfway houses for men and women and a homeless shelter began operation within the past few months. Donations of money and time were keys to the success of all three.

The Next Step Home, for women newly released from jail or rehab programs, provides a temporary residence as participants learn new employment skills, attend 12-step meetings and begin understanding how to avoid previous mistakes in life. At least three hundred women have already pledged $10 per month to support the program. Linda Vannatta, Charmagne Farrar, Diane Clay and Nancy June Brandon were among those who spearheaded the effort.

The Rev. Jay Pope and members of his Lighthouse Church congregation took the lead in founding Halfway Home, which provides help and support for men who were jailed mainly for relatively minor violations, such as violation of probation. Bill and Judy Hornaday provided three homes to house the program.

Dr. Carl Bailey spent much of the year emphasizing the need for a homeless shelter. County and city leaders came through, with county commissioner Bobby Vannatta securing a building just as winter's cold began to kick in.

The programs have begun. Those who provided the spark deserve many thanks.

Sustaining progress becomes the next goal.

Economic conditions continue to worsen. Rising numbers of those seeking help correspond with an increasing need for donations.

Those attempting to rebuild their lives, or simply longing for a warm place on a chilly night, shouldn't be hindered at such a critical moment due to lack of funds.

Times aren't easy for many.

But an investment in these programs becomes an investment in our future -- both in results gained and in moving many from dependency on others to becoming self-supporting taxpayers.

And, in the end, everyone wins.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

* To assist The Next Step Home, call Linda Vannatta at 437-2278 or Dianne Clay at 580-5964. Tax-exempt donations may be made to The Next Step Home, P.O. Box 378, Shelbyville, TN 37162.

* For more information on Halfway Home of Shelbyville and Bedford County, call Jay Pope at 212-7815. Checks may be sent to P.O. Box 101, Shelbyville, TN 37162.

* Carl Bailey, who oversees the homeless shelter, can be contacted at 575-9954 or at ctbchief@yahoo.com.

-- Editorials represent the position of the Times-Gazette. The editorial board consists of Publisher Hugh Jones, General Manager William Mitchell, Editor John Philleo, City Editor John Carney and Copy Editor David Melson.

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