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Shelter director called to help

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When Tina Hayward opened her first homeless shelter facility in 2004, she knew that helping at risk women and children was her purpose in life.

“God called me to do this,” said Hayward Executive Director of Women’s Restoration Shelter and Faith House. “I enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of the women. I really like how some of the women join church and get baptized. So when they are happy to accept Christ, I’m happy.”

Hayward addressed the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club Tuesday on what her shelters offer those who are less fortunate.

Women’s Restoration Shelter was founded by Hayward in 2005. It is a non-discriminating, non-denominational, faith-based community outreach organization that provides relief and restores confidence in the women and children they serve.

Faith House, opened in 2012, shelters, clothes, feeds, houses and provides transportation to for ninety days at a time to about  100 displaced women and children yearly.

Hayward said that during her time at the shelter, people enter the shelter for a number of reasons.

“I used to think that most people came because they had a drug or alcohol problem, but that’s a myth. They come because their spouses, parents or grandparents may have put them out. Sometimes, they’ve had a parent die and they don’t have the money to provide for themselves.”

Hayward said that eviction notices, people who have moved back to Vicksburg after being laid off from their job and those displaced because of inclement weather are also reasons why people seek help.

Hayward explained why it is required that the ladies get a full physical examination when they enter the shelter.

“We ask the women to request these physicals because there have been times when we have found out that some of the women had serious health issues that they didn’t know about.”

Although Hayward would like to take in anyone seeking assistance, she said not having identification is the only reason she won’t allow someone to stay in the shelter.

“We have to make sure that everyone is secure. Throughout time, we have learned that if they don’t have any identification on them, then we cannot take them in because people have done some fraudulent things.”

Hayward has implemented life skills coaching to the shelters methods of healing the women. The coaching is a tool for getting the women on the right path in life.

“There are lots of things that some young women are not aware of. So we teach them skills like being Christ-like, polite and assisting their fellow sisters in the shelter so their transition could be better.”