Wiregrass Habitat donates land for transitional homeless camp

(Taylor Clark)
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 3:25 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity’s goal is providing long term housing for those in need.

They grew interested in short term housing after seeing the impact the Southeast Alabama Coalition for the Homeless was making on the homeless community and decided to unite fronts.

“We knew that we had some land in Dothan that we were not going to build on and we knew they were in need of land,” says Wiregrass Habitat for Humanity executive director Donna Clemmons.

The Habitat for Humanity donated that three acres of land to SEACH in honor of Homeless Connect Month.

Allowing SEACH to turn the idea to create a transitional camp and program for those trying to escape homelessness into reality.

“These are short term solutions for the Wiregrass for those who truly want to be out of that homeless lifestyle but need that absolute hand up and not hand out but it takes a whole community to that and what a partnership and what a gift this is,” say The Harbor’s executive director Kody Kirchhoff.

SEACH believes the camp will eliminate some of the deterrents that live in homeless communities.

“Sometimes not all people share the same idea of the transition. Sometimes there are people still trying to pull you down or the negative influences that do come with that,” said Kirchhoff.

With their own property, SEACH can establish their own rules like a strict no drug or alcohol policy.

Ministry, hot meals, and guidance will be served daily, and participants will serve with ministries throughout the community.

The program will admit 8 to 12 participants at a time.

“We want to have program participants that we can relationally and spiritually connect with and help transition out. If we have too many people down there one it could cause more issues but two the transition and relationship is toughest,” says Kirchhoff.

There is a handful of candidates interested in being the first to go through the program, but first, they must go through an interview process to plan out their goals and show a genuine desire to make a lifestyle transformation.

Participants will live in heavy-duty tents, but the goal is for them to graduate from the program and establish a long-term sustainable living situation.

The camp is predicted to be up and running by next month just in time for Homeless Awareness Month.

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