Paducah Cooperative Ministry to open Fresh Start Village

Breaking the cycle of homelessness with a fresh start —Paducah Cooperative Ministry’s got the keys to four homes for their Fresh Start Village.

The homes were needed after 2014 federal changes made it so PCM could no longer lease federal units to use for their homeless shelter. The homes will house homeless women and mothers with children. Directors say the small village is filling a big void.

Casey Heilig remembers looking in the phone book for help and a place to go. She says she escaped a bad situation with her children and had trouble landing on her feet. Heilig says it was Paducah Cooperative Ministry’s shelter that saved her and her family years ago.

"I wouldn’t be where I am; I don’t know where I’d be after that situation I really don’t," Heilig says.

Executive Director Heidi Suhrheinrich says by opening those doors they can help many more people. She says there’s a lot more homelessness in our community than people realize, but it’s not the homes that are the most important part —it’s what folks learn inside.

Among all four houses, when the Fresh Start Village is at full capacity it can house 30 to 40 people.

After a six to nine month program, the hope is families won’t return.

"We’ve got to build the skills and the opportunity so when they move out of here they’re stepping into something solid with the skills to keep it," Suhrheinrich says.

PCM is building homes and building people up and, like Heilig, getting them back in homes of their own.

"I had to cry to humble myself and be in that situation." Heilig says.

Suhrheinrich says families are already calling needing help and housing in the village, but they’ll officially start accepting applications beginning next week.

PCM also plans to expand the village. They say they want to start the next phase by spring, but their budget can impact that timeline.

Most of the furniture inside, and even the flowers outside, were donated by local churches and businesses.

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