A first chance at new opportunities

Coalition works on transitional housing

By ALAN DALE Managing Editor
Posted 8/11/22

With a purpose to give those who might be behind the 8-ball a chance to achieve victories – even in small amounts – is just what the Audrain County Shelter Resource Coalition (ACSRC) is …

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A first chance at new opportunities

Coalition works on transitional housing

Posted

With a purpose to give those who might be behind the 8-ball a chance to achieve victories – even in small amounts – is just what the Audrain County Shelter Resource Coalition (ACSRC) is doing.

This past weekend, the coalition got to work on preparing the Summit building – 626 East Summit Street – in Mexico, hoping to transform the newly acquired doctor’s office space into men’s and women’s transitional housing units.
The objective was to replace ceiling tiles, clean light fixtures, remove drywall and move cabinets.

Volunteers stepped up to help get the beginning phases of this project going, and now, it’s about seeing things further.

“We have been in business for about nine years and our primary purpose is to help people who are homeless or about to be near homeless,” volunteer, and vice chairman of the board of directors of ACSRC, Phillip Iman said. “It’s about working with that population that there really isn’t many resources for out there.”

Iman is also the Executive Director of the Mexico Help Center and is a member of the board for the resource coalition and says this type of endeavor is “near and dear to my heart.”

Iman said the homeless shelter open in Mexico, December through February, is not enough due to having folks having nowhere to go in the warmer months.

“We have a two-prong approach, and we will focus on the transitional housing,” Iman said.

Iman said a key was to help those who can’t secure housing, which includes making sure those who struggle getting a place due to rental properties having strict standards in some cases.

“I don’t blame them from a business standpoint,” he said. “Anybody that has a felony on their record, or they have had a bad history as far as rental properties are concerned – those folks are automatically excluded. Our hope is that this will be a foot in the door and help them build a history.

“They have to have an income – employment or social security, or something – to live in this transitional unit.”

The housing will be for single men and women and 18 units are expected to be made available.

“It will rent by the month without a contract and all they have to do is pay their rent based on income,” Iman said. “There will be a percentage of what they bring in that they’ll pay by the week.

“The other thing is to participate in working towards a better life. You have to want a better life.”

Iman said if residents can do this consistently, it ultimately builds a credit history of paying rent on time.

“A percentage of what they pay us will go into a savings account,” Iman said. “If they work all the way through and found their own place to rent, they’ll have a small nest egg they can utilize to help pay those deposits that will be required.

“It’s very exciting and it’s a great opportunity. I know people who have jobs, but they don’t have a home. They don’t have a place to prepare meals, have a place to sleep at night or have clean clothes. You’re just out of luck.”

The units will have showers and laundry, and each will be able to cook meals.

Additionally, counseling will be available for those who continue to struggle with some of the adversities they could still face.

The building was donated so nothing was paid for, and Iman said the coalition will have to pay a monthly condominium fee for basic upkeep and incidentals.

Iman said the initial move-ins would likely be for males since, “There are more homeless and males than females,” and the hope nine units would be available by September.

“The second (stage) would be for nine females,” Iman said. “So, we started knocking out walls and making rooms habitable for people. We have to create the shower/laundry and bathroom areas.”

The project won’t end on Summit as Iman said two buildings have been donated for this movement and he hopes the same number of units will be available at the other doctor’s office donated to them.

“This is the first of its kind for Mexico and there are examples of it in other communities,” Iman said. “It’s an experiment, but we know the need is there and people who want to hold full-time jobs because they can’t even go to work clean.”

For more information, contact the Audrain County Shelter Resource Coalition (ACSRC) at 573-473-6328 and/or at https://acsrcmo.org or email acsrc.mo@gmail.com. The ACSRC also has a Facebook page to keep abreast of activities going on with the coalition.

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