According to area shelter officials, more than 600 people in Montgomery are homeless, about half are woman and 10-percent are children.
Wednesday, a new shelter, Mary Ellen's Hearth opened up at the Nellie Burge Community Center specifically for women and children.
Mary Ellen's Hearth ministry offers families housing and life skills training through faith and prayer. The shelter can hold 10 families for up to two years, and during that time, build the families' hope for a better life while teaching independence.
The non-profit shelter fundraises is budget through grants, individual, civic and church donations. Last week, Mary Ellen's Hearth received more $55,000 in federal grants from Mayor Todd Strange. The shelter will use the grant to hire people to work with the families.
"During that time we're going to have parenting classes, classes on nutrition, financial and literacy and budgeting," said Debbie Dobbins, Executive Director at the Nellie Burge Community Center. "We're going to get them enrolled in GED, in job readiness, help them find jobs. They'll be able to live on their own independently, that's what we're shooting for."
The goal is to help the women live on their own and support their children.
"In that way it will cost Montgomery less money," Dobbins said. "We want to teach them to depend on themselves to provide for their family, and not necessarily the government. I think in the long run it will cost less for the city."
Mary Ellen's Hearth has already accepted 4 families, and has 6 spots left. If you or someone you know needs a place to live, please call Debbie Dobbins at 334-264-4108.