Homelessness in Fort Smith
On any given night in Fort Smith, approximately 70 to 80 men, women, and families are without shelter. The truth about individuals experiencing homlessness is that most have suffered some sort of trauma such as illness, loss of a job, divorce, domestic violence, mental health issues, etc. They are neither lazy, not lacking skills for employment – they need more than just a shelter or a meal. Around the city, they seek places to sleep on the streets, in tents, in cars, or in unsafe and often uninhabitable locations. While there are some shelters, there are many people who do not seek help at current shelters due to some restrictions for entry, such as pets, personal belongings, sobriety, or religion.
At Riverview Hope Campus, our goal is to give these people a place to stay. Along with providing a centralized location for service providers, Phase One of our project includes building a 105 bed low-barrier shelter that will house the chronically homeless. This space will also include showers, laundry, classrooms, a barber shop, kennels for pet companions, and personal storage areas – giving everyone a place to stay.