With shelters full, homeless family sent to woods instead
PADUCAH — With so many in need, and an increasing number of families homeless, there's just not enough room at area shelters. It's so bad, the Salvation Army has had to send families, one with three kids and a baby on the way, to live in the woods.
Johnny Adams, 19, and his fiance couldn't believe what the Salvation Army told them. There is no place for them at shelters and only one option.
The River City Mission is the only local shelter accepting families but the couple must be married and most of the time, the family section of the mission is full.
That's why the Salvation Army sends some families off with a tent and directions to "Tent City".
"It's definitely not appropriate but it's better than sleeping out where it's not safe," said Sheila Downing with the Salvation Army.
Missionary Stephanie Daniel knows all about Tent City and said she was surprised when the Salvation Army called her about the families in need. After all, it's her mission to get people out of there.
But when the Salvation Army sent a second couple, this one with three kids and another one on the way, Daniel furnished a hotel instead. The next day, the Salvation Army paid for gas to get to a shelter in Nashville.
"I don't feel comfortable with putting a family out here at all. I would not be able to sleep knowing there were children living here," Daniel said.
Shirley Barlow at the River City Mission doesn't either.
"I cannot imagine putting children and a lady, a pregnant lady, especially in something like that," Barlow said.
The Salvation Army said Tent City is not appropriate housing but the problem remains. More and more families are homeless, space is limited for families and they're left with no options.
The Salvation Army said they would only send folks out there temporarily until they could find a better place.
Stephanie and her ministry, known as "Beyond the Gate" wants to open a shelter of her own to get people out of Tent City. The River City Mission said they certainly don't want families moving in.
All these organizations need financial help.
To contact Stephanie Daniel, call (270) 252-4752. If you would like to make a monetary donation, you may do so at any U.S. Bank location. Tell them it's for "Beyond The Gate" Homeless Ministry.
You may drop off food, bottled water, clothing and other supplies for the homeless at Marilyn's Medical Freedom at 4860 Old Mayfield Road in Paducah. Their phone number is (270) 534-9713.
River City Mission is located at 1466 Bechtold Rd. and can be reached at (270) 442-7921.
The Salvation Army's local headquarters is at 3100 Irvin Cobb Dr. in Paducah. Their phone number is (270) 442-2198.