We've been following the story for weeks, but for the first time, a woman is stepping forward to share her story of success that she says is thanks to Paducah Cooperative Ministry. That agency runs the largest shelter for homeless women and children in our area. It also provides programs to help them find jobs and, eventually, a home of their own.
PCM got notice a little more than a month ago that they won't be able to lease the housing authority's apartments they were using after October first. They aren't allowed to house any more women in the meantime, and that's putting homeless women and children in the area at risk. They're looking for a solution so they can keep turning second chances into success stories.
Women and children have found shelter and safety nestled in a Paducah neighborhood for 25 years. "They provide you with a bed. You have a shower. You have a kitchen," said Lacey Ramsey. They include all the comforts of home for people who don't have any place else to go.
"I watched many many women get jobs, get homes, get on their own two feet when nobody else would help them," said Ramsey. She knows, because The Paducah Cooperative Ministry's shelter helped her for seven months. "They gave me that second chance, because I come here with nothing. I had absolutely nothing," she said.
After financial and life management classes at PCM and support from the people who run it, Ramsey said she's rebuilt her life. "I've got a beautiful home. I have three beautiful children. They're healthy, happy, and I could not be here today without PCM." It's one success story complete.
There are other success stories in the works, though. Melissa Davenport is staying at the shelter while on the waiting list for public housing. She said, "My nerves are scared, yeah." She faces homelessness if the shelter is forced to close. Davenport said, "If I leave here, where am I gonna go? Am I gonna get an apartment before they shut down? What about the other women?" Those are all questions without answers while the women worry and wait. "It's a shame that they can't stay here," Davenport said.
There is one other shelter for homeless women in Mayfield, but they have limited space and age restrictions for children. The other options are as far away as Louisville, Nashville, and St. Louis. PCM's director, Heidi Suhrheinrich, said they are considering every possible option to keep from shutting down.
As a reminder, PCM is looking for a rental space for at least 12 to 15 people that's available by August first. It has to be in Paducah city limits, move-in ready, and have washer-dryer hook ups. If you know of a space that would work, you can email Heidi: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a full list of what PCM needs in a shelter, click here.