SALYERSVILLE – Magoffin County is one step closer to being able to provide more services for homelessness in the county, thanks to a donation made last week.
Magoffin County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman told Mortimer Media Group, “Obviously, homelessness is a major concern in any community and, in our rural communities here in Eastern Kentucky, we typically take care of our own, so we don’t have that population of folks who are homeless like you see in a more urban area, but we do have that need.”
Wireman explained that he, his staff and the fiscal court have been having conversations about the problem since he took office two years ago, but the biggest obstacle is having a place that could be used as a shelter.
“We just don’t have a facility here that could work to accommodate homeless folks, and then you get into the cost of who’s going to run it and how, and paying those kinds of staff,” Wireman said. “There’s a lot of issues involved.”
While building a homeless shelter and staffing it may not be in the cards for Magoffin in the next year or so, Wireman said they do have some options.
“As we continue to research the problem and how it’s handled in rural communities like Magoffin County, it seems that what is happening is a lot of communities are contracting with local hotels and short-term lodging facilities and helping folks who are in an emergency-type situation.”
Case in point, a few weeks ago a Magoffin County family lost their home in a housefire and with the help of the county and neighbors, they now have some temporary housing.
On Friday, February 5, representatives of Woodmen of the World made a sizeable donation they hope will also spur others to pledge to the cause.
“Today, it’s just like a blessing falling out of the sky,” Wireman said. “Mr. Keeth and Mr. Conley contacted us about Woodmen of World wanting to make a donation to the county for a homeless shelter and, while I said we don’t have anything formal or concrete, yet, we do have it in the works, and they wanted to be the first one to kick it off, to start providing some funds to help folks who may be in that need. They said today they would like to see other businesses and the community chip in, too. We’re creating that fund and we can help take care of our own here in Magoffin County.”
Darrel Keeth, the president of the local Woodmen of the World chapter, said, “We’re giving the fiscal court $500 to use with homeless people to find shelter, add to the shelter they’re talking about building, or to put people up in neighboring motels.”
Keeth said he hopes the donation inspires others to help the cause, as well.
“We’re hoping that this $500 will be used in other agencies and organizations that want to match this to help the homeless people in Magoffin County,” Keeth said. “Quarterly our agency gives to different organizations within the community – nonprofits – and this time we’re giving toward homelessness because of the weather and the conditions and everything that we have in the county. We’ve had more snow and we’ve had more cold weather this year than in the past several years back, so hopefully if a person or family comes up homeless, this will help provide a place for them to stay and food to eat.”
Joe Conley, with the local Woodmen of the World Chapter, said, “For every Woodmen member in Magoffin County, Woodmen sends our chapter $1 a month and we use that money to support the community as much as we can.”
For those wanting to contribute to helping the homeless in Magoffin County, contact the Magoffin County judge/executive’s office at 606-349-2313.