Help gets Haven House flush on sewer bills; larger study coming - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Help gets Haven House flush on sewer bills; larger study coming

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Three weeks ago Haven House was in danger of having the water service shut off. Three weeks ago Haven House was in danger of having the water service shut off.
Barbara Anderson Barbara Anderson
Dennis Julius Dennis Julius

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A Jeffersonville homeless shelter probably won't have its water shut off now that donors are helping pay its overdue sewer bill. City leaders are studying other ways to help the homeless.

Three weeks ago Haven House was in danger of having the water service shut off, but neighbors and business have stepped forward to help the homeless shelter pay more than $8,000 of its $12,000 plus sewer bill.

"But it's the tip of the iceberg," said Dennis Julius, the Councilman-at-Large who has gathered some donations through the relief effort Jeff Cares.

Jeffersonville still has to collect more than $1.1 million in sewer fees from delinquent customers. And Haven House still will have trouble covering its bills even after the arrearage is paid, according to director Barbara Anderson.

"We're not asking ‘em for money," Anderson said Thursday. "All we want is free sewage, or reduced-rate sewage."

But Julius believes that such financial difficulties illustrate why Jeffersonville needs to spend $30,000 studying Southern Indiana's homeless population, and what to do for it.

"I believe the problem is growing," he said.

Doris Bradshaw and her grandchildren, one-year-old Del'mya and her 3-week-old brother Del'shawn, represent the changing faces of Jeffersonville's homeless. Bradshaw moved to Haven House in May failing health forced her to give up her job and her home.

"You say ‘homeless' and people run away," Bradshaw said. "They don't want to help you because they think some people are homeless because they don't want to help themselves."

Bradshaw, her daughter and grandchildren are but four of the 84 men, women and children whom Haven House sheltered Christmas night..

"We're 24 people over capacity, and we'll serve 1500 people a year," Anderson said. "All on a budget of $179,000."

Jeffersonville's homeless study could be completed by June. "We are smart enough to know that we don't just want to house the homeless," Julius said. We want to give them some purpose, we want to get them on the right track."

"At this rate, we'll never clear the wait-list for public housing," Anderson said. "How do we get housing built that's affordable? And meets the needs of the people who live here?"

Bradshaw believes that hope begins with a job.

"We're not asking because we're homeless, to be greedy," she said. ‘We can all take care of ourselves, if you give us a chance."

If you would like to make a donation to Haven House you are asked to call them at (812) 284-3373

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