Safe to Sleep has helped 2,800 women find housing since 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - In 2011, retired teacher Romona Baker volunteered with the homeless population and wanted to help even more. She was apart of Council of the Churches of the Ozarks and started Safe to Sleep. Safe to Sleep helps homeless women 18-years and older find a place to sleep at night. Over the past ten years Safe to Sleep has helped more than 2,800 homeless women.
“So prior to 2011, there was not a shelter for women,” said Jessica Luraas with Safe to Sleep. “We started with just six cots in a borrowed apartment. Now we have grown now to what we are.”
Jessica Luraas with the non-profit said every guest meets with a caseworker. They help them find housing, transportation, medical and mental health specialists and provide them with any documents needed. She said Safe to Sleep has helped with over $3,000 worth of first months rent or deposits along with purchasing 234 state IDs and birth certificates. Lurass says in the ten years they were able to help nearly 90 women find housing.
“We just work through all that step by step,” said Luraas. “It may take six months, it even could take a year. If they stick with us we can see them be housed. One of our current volunteers was a former guest. She stayed at Safe to Sleep for almost a year. We helped her get into housing.”
Luraas said the biggest struggle has been COVID-19. During the thick of the pandemic, the shelter was shut down for a period of time. Safe to Sleep offered hotel rooms for those in need. Now, they’re back open 12 hours each day, 365 days a year. Their capacity is around 20 women which is half of the number before COVID-19.
“Just having a place for women to go at night,” said Luraas. “A place that’s warm and welcoming and compassionate. What they may experience during the day on the streets, especially as women is not compassionate. So just to know that there’s a place every single night where they can walk in and feel safe that’s our greatest accomplishment of the last 10 years.”
For more information on Safe to Sleep you can find that here.
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