ADA, Okla.- It’s a problem hidden from public view, countless people living in and around Ada, homeless and struggling to survive.
But a local attorney is trying to change all of that.
Dania Deschamps-Braly had been taking care of her terminally ill mother for a year, asking God how he wanted her to help others, when suddenly, it came to her.
“About two weeks before my mother died I just woke up one morning and it came clear as a bell- we need a homeless shelter in Ada, Oklahoma,” Deschamps-Braly said.
Edwina Lowry, president of Abba’s Tables in Ada, serves on the board of Ada Homeless Services.
“Our homeless do not line our streets, sit in front of our stores, put cans out in front of them and beg for money,” Lowry said. “Our homeless have more pride than that.”
Since Ada’s homeless are hidden from sight, many people don’t know they are even there.
“They’re going to be in an alley, they’re going to be in an abandoned building, they’re not going to be out where it’s visible because they don’t want to be visible,” Lowry said.
Mama T’s B&B will be a way for the homeless to help themselves into real homes.
Up to fifty clients will receive room and board for seven days, and they will be given a list of free programs designed to help them address substance abuse and other problems.
“If after seven days they say well, I really don’t want to do any of that, I just want to have a bed and free food, we say well, we’re sorry but then you need to leave and find other options,” Deschamps-Braly said.
Residents will also be expected to do chores for room and board.
The homeless shelter was flooded with community support, from free foundation work and floor plans to free furnishings, even the building itself was donated.
Director Ty Frederickson will keep a herd of cattle and sell the baby cows for steady revenue once the shelter is open, but donations are still needed to make it to that point.
Mama T's B&B board members hope to raise around $300,000 over the next several months.
The phrase B&B was chosen so people staying there would not need to tell others they were staying at a homeless shelter, and stands for “Bread and Blessings” as opposed to the traditional “Bed and Breakfast.” The name Mama T’s was inspired by Mother Teresa.
Mama T’s is expected to open in fall 2016.