Why does White County need
a homeless shelter?
According to national statistics, approximately 64 homeless families existed in White County in 2005. Then, an actual count recorded 341 persons considered homeless in early 2007. A total of 79 adults were counted, along with 87 children under age 18. Jacob's Place was established to serve as many of the 79 homeless families identified in the study.
A local high school student was deeply concerned for the homeless in White County and discussed
the issue with the Searcy Ministerial Alliance. Members of the Alliance investigated the depth of the problem by talking to White County officials and City of Searcy representatives about the issue. Despite being met with initial skepticism, the Alliance determined that homelessness was a public health concern that needed attention and set out to address it by creating Jacob's Place.
Shortly after the Searcy Ministerial Alliance agreed homelessness was an issue in White County, a Board of Directors was selected, and Members of the Board immediately applied for 501(c)(3) status. The First United Methodist Church of Searcy granted the newly found organization a lease to the home at the corner of Locust and Market streets. The historic “Ben Lightle” house is a four-bedroom,
two bath, two-story home.
With monetary donations from churches and individuals across
the county, dozens of volunteers worked diligently to restore the
Ben Lightle house and renovate
the building to meet City of Searcy code specifications.
Jacob's Place Homeless Mission
was granted non-profit status in December 2007, and the shelter officially opened its doors to the
first clients in March 2008.
As the Board studied the homeless situation in Searcy and White County, members decided that Jacob's Place would be a facility that housed “families with children" to protect the most vulnerable individuals who are affected by homelessness: children.
On average, Arkansas ranks 48th, of the 50 states, in child homelessness.
Since its opening in 2008, Jacob's Place has served over 125 families with children, and there has been an
ongoing “waiting list” since January 2009. Countless referrals have been made to other facilities, not only for housing but for food, clothing and
other services as well.
One of the most difficult tasks Jacob's Place has is turning people away. It is only out of necessity and according to the law, we must, because there is not enough space at the shelter.
A long-term goal is to have the funding to build or lease a facility
that will also house single men and women. There is a tremendous need out there, but we simply cannot do
it at this time.
Jacob's Place looks to faithful donors – businesses, churches, organizations and individuals – to help us continue to serve the homeless families in our community. With continued generosity of donors -- and grace of God -- we will press onward toward our goals.
To God be the glory for all we are
able to do!
"Let each of you look not only
to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others."