Huntsville’s proposed men’s shelter has had it’s fair share of obstacles to overcome; from funding woes to neighbourly disputes, the road to completion has been anything but easy. But organizers from the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation (TSKF), who are behind the shelter, say the end-goal is closer than ever.
“Things are going really well,” Heather Berg, an organizer with the TSKF, said of the progress made as recently as last weekend when $3,700 was raised towards the project. “We haven’t been waylaid in our plans for opening and we’re going to finish it off as quickly as we can.”
Despite the optimism the TSKF won’t commit to a soft-opening date for the facility.
“We’ve projected opening dates a couple of times, but we cannot project one at this point,” Berg said, citing a recent funding pull-out. “We need more funding at this point because our funding partner changed their mind.”
The now-unavailable-funding was earmarked for a full-time managerial position, a position the TSKF say is now being re-imagined.
“[That funding] was how we were going to pay the manager, so at this point we’ve changed our plan and we’re interviewing some people that would be part-time shelter managers. The positions are posted as raise-your-own-support at the present time with the hopes that the table foundation can supplement a salary in the future.”
Funding issues aside, Berg and the rest of the TSKF remain committed to the project and are looking for other funding possibilities, including sponsorship donations from the community. The TSKF is looking for people to sponsor beds in the facility for $1,000 each, the sponsorship would come with a plaque that would recognize the contribution or serve as a memorial. They are also seeking donations of $50 to sponsor a guest for a night, the money from which will be used to cover costs associated with feeding, clothing and providing assistance to those staying at the shelter.
“We know the need is still there and we don’t want money to get in the way of that,” Berg said.
For now, the shelter is relying on the generosity of strangers to help it open the doors. Berg says they are currently looking for volunteers to help with renovations to the building and that with the right volunteer labour, the building could be ready to open in “two weeks, tops.”