Every night in Chatham County, roughly 180 women go to sleep without a roof over their heads. Along the I-95 corridor, from Florida to South Carolina, there was no shelter dedicated to serving unaccompanied homeless women.
Parker’s House opened this week as Union Mission’s latest project aimed at addressing emergency housing needs for people experiencing homelessness in Savannah and Chatham County. The program, which serves up to 32 women at a time, provides housing and wraparound services (things like case management, job training, therapy and medical help) for 90 days. Housed in the former J.C. Lewis Healthcare Clinic on Fahm Street, the project was named after Parker’s Kitchen Community Fund donated $250,000 to kickstart the shelter project.
West Construction was present for the groundbreaking and is grateful for the opportunity to join the community for this special and impactful endeavor, “The doors will open to house 32 homeless women and make an impact on our community. We are proud to be part of the solution with our work on this project for Union Mission with the City of Savannah and Felder & Associates.”
“It’s not a crime to be homeless. It’s a crime not to do something about it.” – Mayor Van Johnson
On average there are 180 homeless women in Savannah each night, and over 70% of them are victims of sexual assault. During construction, women showed up at our job site hoping the shelter was open. They needed help, and now help is here.
Savannah Morning News reported, “About 40% of women experiencing homelessness have been sexually assaulted, while 70% are survivors of domestic violence. Traynor said the sobering statistics emphasize a need for services that help protect and heal women, particularly in a region without shelter for single women.
The shelter opened Sept. 6 with 32 women able to be housed. There are 16 rooms, which are connected with Jack-and-Jill bathrooms. The women will be welcomed with a carrier of toiletries and sleepwear, courtesy of local brand Lake. The rest of the space includes a common area and kitchen, computer room, conference room, laundry room and an outdoor courtyard.
“When they come through this door, we want them to know that they are safe and to know that we are a bunch of caring people,” said LaMonica Graham, Union Mission program director for Parker’s House and Grace House, which is a men’s emergency shelter program. “Our motto here as case managers is we’re going to start with where the client is.”
The Union Mission website explains –
“Women comprise approximately 28% of the homeless population in Savannah, yet there has never been a housing program that is specifically focused on unaccompanied, homeless women in the Savannah-Chatham County area,” said Union Mission President and CEO Mike Traynor. “Parker’s House marks a major step forward to provide emergency housing and essential services to unaccompanied women in need right here in our own community. We are incredibly grateful to Parker’s for their generous support and for their impressive commitment to Savanah.”
Parker’s House: A Home for Women will be Savannah and coastal Georgia’s only facility solely dedicated to providing emergency housing and comprehensive services for unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness.
Located at 125 Fahm St. in the former JC Lewis Healthcare building in Savannah, the 10,590-square-foot facility will offer emergency housing, on-site caseworkers, a residential assistant, and support services for up to 32 women for 90 days. Parker’s House also includes a common kitchen, living room, dining room, computer room, and laundry room.
Savannah-Chatham County has the second-highest rate of homelessness in Georgia. According to the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless 2019 HUD PIT Survey, on any given night, more than 180 women in Chatham County are experiencing homelessness.
Each Parker’s House client will be assigned a case manager for Individualized Case Management, wellness checks, employment support, and referrals to primary care and mental health providers. For clients in mental health crisis, the Union Mission Counseling Center will create Individual Service Plans.”
To learn more about Union Mission or join their volunteer efforts please visit, https://www.unionmission.org.