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'It wasn't enough for the year': Longstanding Warner Robins emergency shelter in need of funding

In 2021, they received $10,000 from Warner Robins, half of what they received in years past. With at least $40,000 in upkeep, they survive on donations.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Many of Houston County's homeless rely on local shelters to bridge the gap when they're in need. 

For 23 years, the Thomases have strived to help serve those in Warner Robins experiencing homeless.

"I just had a desire to try and help people if I could," Reverend John H. Thomas said.

The community outreach service center is not government-funded. Because of that, they require people moving in to produce a government ID, Houston County address, current COVID-19 test, and rent.

"When they start working, we charge them $75. That includes their food, and food we have available," he explained. 

Reverend Thomas and his wife Isadora say their emergency shelter can hold 9 men, 5 families, and 8 single women. 

After losing funding from the city to pay staff, it runs on the help of volunteers.

“They don't fund us anymore, and the thing is when they funded us, it wasn't enough for the year. What they fund us would last probably three months," he explained. 

They say in 2021, they received $10,000 from Warner Robins, half of what they received in years past. He also says with at least $40,000 in upkeep and surviving off donations, it impacts what they can do.

"We have a lot of volunteers in two buildings that keep everything afloat and that’s by the grace of God,” she said. 

Despite the highs and lows of service, they say they have no plans to stop.

"When you can meet the needs of a person that's going through their downfall and you're there to help them, there's nothing more rewarding, so however way we’re making it, we’re making it,” Thomas said.

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick said in a statement, "The city is aware of the homelessness issue and is currently exploring options to help within our community."

The Thomases say they plan to hold a fundraiser for the shelter in December. If you would like to donate, contact them at (478) 922-3195.

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