Former homeless woman seeks help opening Cleveland facility
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -- After decades of life on the street, a former homeless woman is opening a help facility in Cleveland to help other women get back on their feet. In order for it to become a reality, she's asking the community to pitch in.
Sharon Foskey recently opened two Bradley County donation centers, Heavenly Treasures.
She says after Channel 3's story aired on the work she's doing to help the homeless, someone donated a building rent-free for one month for a women's home and faith based program.
She says if volunteers can get it in living condition, it will be much more than a roof over their heads for their three months to a year stay.
"I know what it's like to be homeless, sleep under bridges, in cardboard boxes, dumpster dive and eat cat food," Sharon Foskey says.
Foskey's goal is to save other women from the rough life she's lived, by turning a rundown building on Wildwood Avenue into Mercy Restoration Center for women in need. They could be battling substance abuse, depression, physical abuse or just down in their luck.
Some volunteers are already working to make it happen, all with a past and a desire to help others.
"I see homeless people on the streets. It breaks my heart because I've been there," volunteer, Eugene Bryant says.
"The Lord laid it on my heart that this is the ministry I need to be in, because I have been homeless, I have been on drugs," volunteer, Tanya Woods says.
Tanya Woods had to travel to Chattanooga and out of state for help, which isn't feasible for most people in need.
There is an emergency shelter and some other programs in Cleveland, but they say they only provide for a few dozen people.
"The need in this area is unbelievable. There's over 300 homeless people here," Woods says.
The goal for the facility is not only to house women in need, ten at a time, but Sharon is recruiting volunteers to teach job and life skills.
"I need teachers who can teach time management, money management, we have our computer teacher," Foskey says.
"I think it's a good idea, because hand outs are ok, but a hand up is much better," Woods says.
But, to provide that hand up, the building needs to be livable. She's requesting donations for building supplies and appliances and anyone willing to put in the elbow grease.
"I need skilled laborers. I need electricians. I need plumbers. I need carpenters," Foskey says.
"I have a heart, and we're supposed to help each other," Bryant says.
Foskey's ministry is now affiliated with United Christian Church.
On top of supplies, she's asking for monetary donations to pay rent that starts next month. Her next goal is to acquire the building next door for a soup kitchen.
To donate, you can contact Sharon Foskey at (423) 255-2688 or at Heavenly Treasures at 260 Broad Street SW. in Cleveland.