Nine months ago, Jerry Damron started working to give back to Callaway County's homeless shelter, and people who were once in his position.
Damron accomplished his mission Friday, when Our House: Caring for Callaway's Homeless officially opened its new resource room. Built using a microgrant Damron received for completing Central Missouri Community Action's Step Up to Leadership, the room in Our House's transitional family home will help parents job hunt, apply for assistance programs and get their feet back under them.
"I'm glad to have it done so it can help the community," Damron said. "I know it's going to help other people with job searching and paperwork and whatnot."
Damron stayed in that home, Haven House, a few years ago when a change in his life situation left him and his family homeless. So when he completed CMCA's 12-week program designed to develop leadership skills, he wanted to give back.
The program includes an opportunity to apply for a small community improvement grant, which he used to transform a small room unfit for housing large families into a resource Haven House's residents could use to find work, write resumes, apply for housing or food assistance and more.
"I'm happy with the way it turned out with the budget we had," Damron said, noting he had less than $400 to spend. "I'm glad it turned out to be the way it is, and with the donations of a couple businesses. CMCA donated all the computers and printers for us, and then MID-MO Carpet Cleaning donated the carpet cleaning."
Executive Director Brad Sheppard said the room, which contains computers and printers, office space and a chalkboard made with special paint on the walls, would further meet the needs of families temporarily staying in Haven House.
"It's going to be a great asset for our guests because there's not really any other place to be able to have access, especially to the computers with more and more things (like job applications) online," Sheppard said. "They can do it at the library, but time there limited. This gives them more time to do that kind of thing."
Sheppard said the room could also be used as a multi-purpose building for training or meetings.
Since it officially opened for use Friday, Sheppard said at least one resident has used the resource room and found it helpful.
"We've had some people use it for even applying for public housing and something they have to type up things like their rental history so just having those comps and printers is helpful," he said.