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Shelter Is A Place Where Women, Children Can Make Positive Strides

It is encouraging to see UCAN officials and Mayor Eddie Sundquist’s work to find a good location for a women’s shelter in Jamestown is paying off.

Jeff Rotunda, UCAN executive director, told The Post-Journal recently that the organization has found a site that doesn’t require any zoning variances, a problem that scuttled a prior site. Sundquist and his staff deserve a lot of credit for working with Rotunda to find a location that works. Having a women and children’s shelter inside the city limits makes sense given the city’s proximity to the agencies that provide many of the services to help women and children, and we have seen in the past how hard it can be for agencies to find sites that meet their needs and aren’t opposed by neighbors. We’re sure Sundquist and his staff smoothed this process, and for that they should be commended.

Rotunda told The Post-Journal recently that about 220 single women and 120 families countywide in need of emergency lodging were lodged in hotels last year. At the same time, the number of homeless women increased from 24 in 2019 to 70 in 2020 during the annual Homeless Assessment Report snapshot compiled on behalf of the federal Housing and Urban Development department. Finding a proper site is only the first step. A grant writer has been brought in to help find funding to turn the new building into a proper shelter, but the community can help too by sending donating on the mission’s website at www.ucancitymission.org.

Using hotels to house women and children who need temporary shelter makes little sense. It solve a short-term need, but having these families in a dedicated place with staff and volunteers who are able to help them can make a huge difference in the peoples’ lives. The shelter would provide not just a place to stay, but a supportive environment where women and their children can regroup and take the first step toward a better life.

That’s something we should all be able to get behind.

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