By Shannon Taylor
Dresden resident Sandra Taylor, owner of Be The Village in Dresden, which helps foster children and also helped for more than a year after the tornado hit Dresden, has started a homeless shelter. It’s called Margaret’s Place and it covers not just Weakley County, but all of West Tennessee. Their mission statement reads, “To advocate for a future where homeless individuals are loved and cared for while at the same time expected to work towards self-sustaining futures. Teach people to live in healthy, supportive relationships, which provide spiritual, emotional and physical support with personal accountability.”
Taylor said that the biggest reason she started it was after a lot of research and realizing how many people in Weakley and surrounding counties were homeless.
“I just felt like there was a big need.” Taylor partnered with Carey Counseling and has been reaching out to other organizations to partner with to better help the people in Weakley County and surrounding communities in need.
Taylor receives referrals from Carey Counseling, sheriff’s departments and word-of-mouth. Taylor will not release the location of the shelter at this time due to privacy and safety reasons, other than it’s located in Dresden, but said that anyone that needs help can call her at 1-931-607-8607 anytime of the day or night.
Taylor said no one is turned away and the shelter provides 15 beds, a full kitchen, bathroom, internet and TV in each room, laundry facilities and shower, which is all temporary until people get back on their feet, which Taylor and other organizations partnered with her help them to do through resources.
Taylor said those in need are provided with essential items such as clothing, toiletries and food. Margaret’s Place has multiple resources that are currently working with them to help each person with their needs such as doctor visits, job searching, career search, back to school and more. Margaret’s Place has mentors available for drug and alcohol abuse, domestic and sexual abuse. They provide weekly Bible-study classes.
“Our goal is to help the homeless go from surviving to thriving and helping them receive permanent housing. Everyone that is homeless has their own story to tell. Everyone is here for different reasons. We are not here to judge or shame. We want to rebuild lives,” Taylor said.
The first week Taylor opened her shelter, she had seven individuals seeking help, one of them a child.
“The best part is that we are temporary and we’re able to help individuals get back on their feet. We help give them direction to build themselves back up. We don’t do it for them — we do it alongside them.”
Taylor is looking for donations of food, as well as volunteers to help out at the facility. Taylor said she would love to see people in the county become involved in this. If anyone in the county is interested they can contact Taylor through Facebook or her cell. Visit Margaret’s Place Grouphome/Shelter | Dresden TN | Facebook for more information.