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Watson visits Hamilton Haven

By Staff, 10/14/19 2:45 PM

PRESCOTT – Rep. Danny Watson visited Hamilton Haven Monday afternoon, and learned what it’s for and what it’s taken to get to this point.

Michelle Rhodes, who’s been the driving force for the emergency shelter. The property was purchased in April 2017 with the goal of turning into a shelter for displaced families, either from natural disasters or fires.

According to Rhodes, the house will have two bedrooms, one bath, a living room, kitchen and back deck. It will be fully furnished, most likely with bunk beds in what will be a room for children, a full-size bed for the adults and a sleeper sofa in the living room. When all’s said and done, she said, it could house a family of seven. It will also have a washer and dryer setup.

Most of the items have been donated, and all the work has been done by volunteers. The youngest volunteer, she said, is 11 while the oldest is 83, but, she added, it’s been a community effort with everyone pitching in and helping where they can.

Before renovations began, Rhodes went to residents of the area and talked to them about what her plans for the house were. She said nobody had a problem with a temporary shelter being built in the community.

The bulk of the interior work has been done, but the floors still need to be sanded and stained, walls painted and ceiling tiles installed along with light fixtures and ceiling fans.

Watson said there could be more funds for non-profits for such projects. He was informed this already is a 501(c)3 organization with an attorney and board of directors. He told those present he’ll be talking to the area’s other state rep and state senators about this project so they can look for additional funding. “We need places like this in Southwest Arkansas,” he said.

Rhodes pointed out those who stay at Hamilton Haven will stay there for nothing. They won’t be charged for anything, including utilities. The board is looking for ways to pay for utilities. It was also pointed out the organization needs money for the overall operation of the house and insurance.

Families staying there can get help from the local Food Pantry and mission, for food and clothing.

Rhodes said Hamilton Haven will open in January 2020.