SOUTH HAVEN | Shawna Trousdale was 21 when she became homeless along with her 10-month-old son.
Now 24, Trousdale has an apartment and is employed thanks to help from Gabriel's Horn, a temporary shelter for homeless women and their children.
“They work with you one-on-one, and they really care,” Trousdale said last week at the shelter, where she returns periodically to assist with chores and other needs.
Since opening its doors in 2004, Gabriel's Horn has helped more than 300 families break the cycle of homelessness. Located at 792 McCool Road, it includes private bedrooms for five families, a kitchen, laundry facilities and a computer room.
Programming includes individual and group counseling, case management, child development activities, art lessons, a yoga class and transportation. An aftercare program provides formerly homeless families with access to resources and a support network.
The goal is to help women become independent and self-sufficient, said Mignon Kennedy, executive director.
Kennedy said the cost to operate the facility is more than $100,000, annually which is funded through grants, rental property income and community donations.
“It's tight, but we have wonderful community donors, and we rely on them because we can't do it just with grants,” Kennedy said.
The Porter County Community Foundation has provided several grants, including a recent one for an educational center that will house computers and educational toys for children.
As part of efforts to fight homelessness in Porter County, the community foundation and The Times Media Co. are hosting Give Day on Nov. 8. Contributions to nonprofit organizations that provide housing services will be matched.
Gabriel's Horn also is hosting an ice cream social fundraiser from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at South Haven Christian Church, 780 Juniper Road. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
For Trousdale, the shelter is not only about programming, but people.
She completed her GED and now works in child care at the Portage YMCA, but she comes back to support the shelter and reconnect with those who made an impact in her life.
“I love the people here. They helped me out a lot,” Trousdale said.
For more information, contact Mignon Kennedy at (219) 364-8018 or visit www.gabrielshelter.org.