May 5, 2020–5:42 a.m.
The pastors of The Churches of Rome collaborative announced they are making their first community service grant to the newly formed HOPE Alliance of Rome and Floyd County. The funds will be used to offset expenses incurred by local nonprofits providing emergency shelter and services to homeless citizens affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
The grant is a direct result of donations made online during the Drive-In EASTER 2020 service held at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds, Sunday, April 12th. The host churches promoted a combined online offering to assist with local efforts to address the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in our community.
“This is how we continue to be the church, and represent Christ in our community, even when we can’t gather together in our own buildings,” said Jody Hagerty, Pastor of Cornerstone Church. “Our desire was to give people the encouragement of community with the combined service, but even when the weather didn’t cooperate, people still came together in their generosity. We came together to plan one event, but now that vision is being multiplied in the work of more than 10 organizations through the HOPE Alliance of Rome and Floyd County.”
The Community Foundation of Greater Rome also played a major role in facilitating the generosity of this community collaboration. In this time of crisis, the Community Foundation was able to act quickly to provide the online platform allowing the collaborative to accept and administrate donations through one secure source.
“This changes things,” said Devon Smyth, Executive Director of the William S. Davies Shelters. “When we see local business owners, churches, the city, and nonprofits, all working together to meet the needs of our community, we see immediate and significant impact.”
In reference to the Emergency Shelter, Smyth commented, “This is not the work of any one organization. The HOPE Alliance represents service providers from throughout our county coming together to meet the needs of people who are hurting and living in the oppressive fear of uncertain futures.”
The Emergency Homeless Shelter was opened in Rome on April 13th by HOPE Alliance members; the Davies Shelters, Hospitality House, and The Salvation Army. Dr. John Cowan donated use of the facility on the site of the former Chapel Hill United Methodist Church. The work of the shelter has also received significant support from the City of Rome, the United Way, and Southeastern Mills.
The HOPE Alliance of Rome and Floyd County began as a group of local service providers and concerned volunteers working together to address the immediate physical needs of the local homeless population. In response to the 2019 Homelessness Task Force, a more coordinated effort emerged to address the chronically fractured system of care for the most vulnerable citizens in our community. Many members began working together at that time on scheduled feeding and relief projects in local homeless encampments.
In 2020, the HOPE Alliance of Rome and Floyd County was formally established to insure the continuation of a sustained and prepared effort of continuous discovery and delivery of much needed collaborative strategies to bring to an end the homelessness crisis in our community.