FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — Baldwin County’s only homeless shelter for women and children is up and running after months of work, planning, and fundraising. Today they’re looking for more people to help to serve families in need. Advocates say homelessness can be an invisible problem in Baldwin County. People experiencing homelessness in Baldwin are hard to see because many are still working.
The Baldwin Family Village opened in April and currently houses about 15 women and children. They have room for up to 35 depending on family size. It started as a project from Fairhope United Methodist Church and it’s administered by officials with the Dumas Wesley Center out of Mobile. They’ve been working to transition people from homelessness to stability for the last quarter century and have brought their playbook to this facility in Fairhope. Women who live here get counseling and life-skill training tailored to their needs. They get a place to stay while getting their lives in order.
“You know, the unhoused population in Baldwin pretty closely mirrors the population that we serve in Mobile at our Mobile campus. The main contributors to folks finding themselves in a homeless situation is usually underemployment and lack of affordable housing,” said Dumas Wesley Community Center Executive Director Kate Carver. “Homelessness is a result of a complex mix of factors. Sometimes there’s alcohol or addiction. Sometimes it’s domestic violence. Sometimes it’s underemployment. And so we really work hard to create a care plan that directly responds to those challenges and those needs so that our individuals have the skills.”
The housing issue is acute in a fast-growing area like Baldwin County. They help moms with courses for budgeting, savings, and increasing income. Residents set measurable goals to eventually move into their own place and have the ability to survive independently. They’re always looking for volunteers, whether it’s to provide childcare or help with some of the life-skill classes.