Chapter 11: The Gentry House
Made Possible By Independence Bank
By Jamies Sears Rawlings
In 2018, the federal poverty line for a household of four people was $25,100. According to the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, 21.2 percent of residents in Calloway County earned below that poverty line.
Some may find that surprising, but Allison Alexander, interim executive director of The Gentry House, Inc. does not.
“It’s a sad truth that, while Murray has a thriving business community and great schools, there are still families struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their heads,” she says.
The Gentry House, Inc. is a non-profit transitional shelter serving families in Calloway County that need a short time to transition from homelessness to stability. With only four houses, Allison says they operate on a waiting list all year long.
Last year, The Gentry House, Inc. was able to help 12 families get back on their feet. Allison says that was only about 50 percent of their waiting list.
Families come to The Gentry House, Allison says, to escape a gambit of problems that have left them homeless or without a safe home. Issues with domestic violence or a lost job account for many of those reasons why some seek shelter at The Gentry House, but so does the fact that many who are working part-time or minimum wage jobs simply cannot make ends meet each month.
Residents of The Gentry House are able to stay for 90 days in one of the facility’s homes, with no expenses.
“While they are living here, our residents have no costs,” Allison says.
During that they, they are provided with tools to help bridge the gap back into mainstream society.
“We provide support through financial planning and workforce readiness to help achieve the goal of financial independence,” Allison says.
Residents complete an assessment and then are given assistance in areas where they need it most, including assistance with budgeting, resume-writing and interview preparation. A caseworker often works directly with school systems to address the needs of school-aged children. Every need is met with the goal of complete family transition into a stable environment at program completion.
Allison says that very few of these opportunities for their residents would be possible without The Gentry House’s strong connections to businesses and social services in the community.
“Collaboration is the key in our community to address any other needs,” she says.
From businesses who provide financial support, partnerships with social service organizations to the numerous volunteers who help out with many fundraising efforts throughout the year, Allison says that the Murray-Calloway County community is the backbone of The Gentry House’s efforts to break the cycle of poverty in their county.
“Poverty, especially generational poverty, can’t be successfully addressed without the effort of an entire community.”
The Gentry House, Inc. is always in need of volunteers and other support from the community.
You can learn more about The Gentry House, Inc. by visiting their website at www.gentryhouse.org or by calling (270) 761-6802.