Residents thrilled with new facility
By: Howell Dennis
Part two of a four part series recognizing National Homeless Week
MAXIE - It was hard to get different quotes from the residents at The Welcome House when describing their new living quarters which opened in November. Mainly because they all said the same thing.
“I love it,” said Theresa Bellard, who along with her husband A.J., manages the facility. “There is no comparison with where we used to live.”
The new facility houses 50 people and is divided into three separate living areas for men, women and married couples. None of the residents seemed to be sitting still Tuesday morning as they scurried about cleaning the ‘day room’ which separates the living areas. It was an impressive bit of teamwork that they repeat every morning.
“We’ve got to keep this place running,” said Charlene. “This is so much nicer.”
The Welcome House’s newest addition was paid for entirely by donations and fundraisers from the community. Church services are held in the day room every Sunday along with Bible study every Monday and Wednesday.
“This is a very religious place,” said Al as he mopped the day room’s floor. “It’s such an improvement.”
The services in the day room will soon be a thing of the past, however, as construction will soon begin on a church at the shelter.
“I can’t wait,” said Bellard.
When looking around the new facility it is easy to understand the resident’s excitement. There is a large kitchen area which resembles one that would be in a restaurant. The day room has a large seating area with two televisions where residents may take a break from their assigned tasks. During Tuesday’s visit, however, nobody was sitting in front of a television as everyone seemed quite motivated to help with the chores.
At the Crowley Rotary Club’s Tuesday luncheon, it was announced that The Welcome House project, which the Rotary Club played a huge role in supporting, won the District 6200 best project award and would be submitted to the international competition.
Joe Freeland, the Crowley Rotary Club’s project coordinator, has been instrumental in helping to fund the project along with fellow Rotarians Mary Zaunbrecher and Ron Lawson.
“With the great generosity of our community and the outstanding teamwork of our community I’d have to say that it is an outstanding success,” said Freeland. “I hope the community continues to rally around the project.”