Huntsville, TN (2017-10-19) Since its inception, the Scott County Homeless Shelter’s primary mission was to provide safe, emergency shelter for those without a place to call home. Through the years, the shelter’s vision has broadened and with growth has come need for change.
“Within the next year, we want to identify grant funding to become independent,” Ray Perry, Executive Director of the Scott County Homeless Shelter told members of the Scott County Board of County Commissioners last Monday night. In recent months, the not-for-profit organization has begun exploring grant funding and other resources to make the facility self-sustaining. In the view of the organization’s directors, one of the barriers for obtaining such funding is the facility’s name.
Over the years, the shelter has reached out to other segments of the homeless population, including residents of Morgan and Campbell counties, and added other services beyond emergency housing. According to Perry, misconceptions created by the shelter’s name hinders its ability to further broaden its reach and expand its services.
“We want to change our image,” Perry said. Perceptions associated with the homeless population leads to misconceptions about the shelter’s mission. “People think about a guy on the side of the road bumming for money and drugs,” Perry said. The organization provides more than emergency and transitional housing. Through its intensive, comprehensive case management approach, the organization provides help with state and federal assistance programs, employment, permanent housing, food, life skills and community education, and even in some instances, relocation. The organization has provided follow-up assistance to clients up to nine months after they leave the program and claims a 78% success rate.
Recently, the organization has reached out to inmates scheduled for release from the Scott County Jail. The proactive approach helps those inmates transition from the justice system environment to living independently and having to provide basic needs for themselves.
In addition to the stigma associated with perception of the homeless population, Perry said having Scott County in the organization’s name created a geographic limitation to the reach of the program.
In response, the directors of the shelter have decided to change its name to Pinnacle Resource Center. In the organization’s view, the new name would provide a positive image. “Pinnacle means the highest point and most successful and we feel that we are the most successful program for housing and helping people in an impoverished situation,” Perry remarked.
While the organization aids the homeless and others needing transitional housing, those served must also help themselves. “We offer them a hand up, not a hand out,” Perry said.
Pinnacle Resource Center is in the old Capitol Hill School building at 1513 Jeffers Road in Huntsville. You may reach out to them by calling (423) 663-3333.