Baldwin Family Village: More than just a shelter for homeless women & children

Published: Jun. 5, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Homeless women and children in Baldwin County will soon have a place to seek shelter. The Baldwin County Family Village dedicated their new transitional home Sunday in Fairhope.

“Little did I know -- in my wildest dreams -- that four months later this community would have raised $700,000 to purchase this property. That just I mean... Claps. It speaks to the depths of commitment among you all in this room and in this community,” said Kate Carver, Executive Director Dumas Wesley Center.

Under the direction of the Dumas Wesley Community Center the 13-bedroom home will shelter homeless women and children in Baldwin County. Spearheaded by Fairhope United Methodist Church -- it all came together in less than six months.

“We can open some of the bedrooms to accompany to hold a larger family or some are for single women. We can do single women or women with children. This is a nice Jack and Jill bathroom setup so we can accommodate a larger family if we need to,” explained Carver as she gave us a tour.

The program will be able to accommodate up to 30 people at any given time -- and serve around 100 per year. It will mirror the Sybil Smith Family Village in Mobile.

“We literally take each person and say what is their greatest need -- what has led to their homelessness and we try to tackle it one barrier at a time... And that’s really what we hope to do here,” said Sarah Laurio, Sybil Smith Family Village Director.

The Sybil Smith Family Village helps the residents with job and life skills, even teaches them how to drive and get their driver’s license to be able to get to work. All residents are expected to find employment or go to school within 30 days of entering the program. They Sybil Smith Family Village has an 88% success rate among residents moving into permanent housing -- 24% higher than national average, according to HUD statistics.

Crystal Corrao is one of their success stories. She and her 5-year-old daughter Isabelle were homeless and living out of their car in Baldwin County last year. She’s a current resident at Sybil Smith and wanted to share her story with folks helping open the Baldwin Family Village.

Crystal carrao: “A complete 360. I have grown so much as a person. They were willing to give me a hand and it was scary at first. But i’m telling you... This place is wonderful -- and I have so much hope. I’ve lived there for about a year. I have a job. I’m in school to become a medical assistant and hope to graduate in September,” said Carrao.

They’re hoping they can replicate that same success at the Baldwin Family Village.

Dr. Darren McClellan -- Senior Pastor of Fairhope United Methodist leading a prayer over the home. It’s a powerful message that Carrao will tell you is a blessing beyond just a roof over your head.

“I hope people take away that hope that they gave me and that there is that light at the end of the tunnel. If they just take that step to get the help -- this is a wonderful place and these are wonderful people that are absolutely going to help them get to where they need to be,” said Carrao.

The Baldwin Family Village is set to begin fundraising for their operational budget of half a million dollars -- and expect to officially open their doors in April of next year.


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