Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Reclaimed status allows for tax exempt donations for shelter

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Charlotte Jones knows a homeless man who comes to United Christian Assistance Program (UCAP) every few months for food.

"He lives in a car somewhere with his family ... he comes for bread, diapers and formula," Jones said. "For a while he mowed the grass at a local motel, so they could live there."

This family would be eligible to live in one of United Christian Homes' residences, if it were habitable. But it isn't, and there isn't enough money in UCH's coffers to make it happen.
UCH homes are located on Fuller Street with a one-family unit at 107. The men's side at 109, will hold up to six men at one time.

Looks can be deceiving. On the outside, the residence boasts new windows and storm doors. The inside, however, is another story.

"The floor has to be replaced – some of it is rotted," Jones said. "The ceiling and air conditioner have to be fixed and the entire structure has to be painted with fire resistant paint. It has to have fire alarms and serviced fire extinguishers."

The entire project will cost between $12,000 and $15,000.

The organization doesn't have the funds to fix everything wrong with the building, and until recently, donors were holding back due to a problem with UCH's 501 (c) (3) status.

"It was a clerical thing really," Jones said. "It wasn't that anyone did anything wrong."

Recently, however, the organization received a letter from the Department of the Treasury reinstating their exemption status retroactive to 2010.

Jones hopes this news will encourage churches, organizations and individuals who have a special place in their hearts for individuals and families down on their luck.

"We know of some who want to donate but have been holding back until we regained our status," Jones said. "We need everyone to know we have it back, and any donations they make – monetary or otherwise – will be tax exempt."

The UCH director and his family are located at 102, while the women's shelter house is 104. It can host six or seven women, Jones said.

Thanks to Fibrebond employees, who took on the job as community service, the inside of the women's residence has been painted with fire resistant paint. New flooring came at a discount from Home Improvement Outlet. Other individuals have donated their time and materials.

UCAP and UCH were started more than 20 years ago by the late Gladys Hair, who had a vision for helping those less fortunate. It is governed by a board of directors. Persons who live in a

UCH shelter stay around six months and have to be actively seeking employment and a more permanent residence.






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