Mitcham spoke to the Adairsville Council of the Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce business breakfast.
As of Wednesday night, 27 of the 30 beds in the shelter were full. Mitcham said that for most of the residents, it’s the first time they’ve found themselves in the situation of being without a place to call home.
“They’ve exhausted all of their family and friend resources,” Mitcham said.
Each of the occupants are drug and alcohol tested before they are allowed to stay the night, and they can be randomly tested at any time during their stay at the shelter, which Mitcham said could last as long as 12 weeks.
“They have to be working or searching for a job,” Mitcham said.
The job scenario in the current economy is challenging enough, but Mitcham said that felony convictions in the background of a number of residents are the largest obstacle for the residents to overcome. The other is generally transportation.
“I am amazed at how far our guests walk or ride bicycles to get to a job,” Mitcham said.
The shelter is now able to help with that task as it obtained a new 15-passenger van earlier this year to help take residents to work or to help find a job.
Work is about 90 percent complete on a new computer lab, which will have 11 computers to assist job searches or help residents acquire their GED.
Mitcham said the shelter receives less than 5 percent of its revenue from government sources, and it is dependant on support from the community. The largest single fundraiser of the year is slated for Aug. 18 at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville.
“Our Heart, Their Harbor — Diamonds and Denim” will include both live and silent auctions after a dinner.