Friday, September 28, 2012
The porch light of Wiley House at 831 Jefferson shone bright Thursday night, promising those who had nowhere else to go that here was shelter and safety for the night.
On Oct. 7, just shy of Fulton’s overnight homeless shelter’s third anniversary, that light will go on for the last time.
Our House: Caring for Callaway’s Homeless, will be forced to close the doors on Wiley House on Oct. 8 due to lack of financial support.
The decision came after months of struggling to make ends meet.
“We’ve been going through the finances on a month-to-month basis. We didn’t have a big pot of reserves anyway, and we’ve been losing almost $4,000 a month,” said Our House board president Jim Cruickshank. “If we didn’t do something drastic, not only would it affect Wiley House, but it would affect Haven House (a long-term shelter for families) as well.
“It’s our mission to help those who have no place to go. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to break it to them Tuesday night. Hopefully it’s temporary.”
Nobody hopes that more than those whom Wiley House serves.
Jennifer Slayton, who has been staying at the shelter since April after becoming homeless when she escaped from domestic violence, said she was shell-shocked at the news.
“My first reaction was panic — what am I going to do? There’s not anywhere else to go,” Slayton said. “Not being from the area, I don’t have family or friends to fall back on. If it wasn’t for the shelter, I’d be sleeping in the grass.
“It gives you a place to stay, a place to shower, a place to sleep, a place to be secure.”