My Sister’s Keeper

Women & Children’s Emergency Homeless Shelter

Help & Hope ~ Hand in Hand

No Emergency Contact-Experiencing Homelessness in Kentucky

March 18, 2024

Having a support system in today’s world can literally be life changing.  Do you realize how many people don’t even have a name to put down under “Emergency Contact” on a general form?!  Think about that-not one person in the world that someone else could contact if you had an emergency.

Several years ago after I went through my divorce and it was just me and my two little boys who were three and six at the time.  I woke up sick and knew I needed to go to the doctor.  I dropped them off at school and daycare and headed to the Urgent Care.  I walked up to the desk and they handed me all the forms to fill out so I could be seen.  I got about three fourths of the way down the page to “Emergency Contact” and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.  I had no one.  My momma had died a year earlier and there was no one I could think of that I could call in that moment.  I sat there in the middle of that waiting room sobbing to myself thinking “I have no one”.

Fast forward some 16 years later and I am currently the Executive Director of a local women’s & children’s emergency homeless shelter here in Owensboro, Kentucky called My Sister’s Keeper.  One of the first things we do with a woman when she comes through our doors is an intake form.  This helps us learn more about them.  Of course, one of the questions on the form is “Emergency Contact”.  I had all but pushed my own memory to the back of my mind until the shelter opened its doors two months ago and I started seeing the Emergency Contact section with a slash through it.  The difference between myself and these women, I did have a home to back to.  They do not.  Imagine not only being alone but homeless and completely defeated.

The first one I came across stopped me in my tracks.  It was a middle-aged woman who came into our building late one night and as she filled out the form I could hear her in such despair.  There were no tears.  It was anguish.  She was tired.  She was struggling.  She had no one.  At that moment she had us.  We welcomed her in, offered her a place to stay, something to eat, and told her to rest.

I can’t help but lay awake at night wondering about her family (not just her but all the women who have no Emergency Contact).  Why are they all alone?  No one deserves to be alone.  Surely, there is someone out there.

Then I realize it is us.  It is the people who wake up daily to serve those experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, drug addiction, or someone who is just down in life.  We are the Emergency Contacts.  We are the help.  It is our responsibility to advocate for these individuals and help them to a better place.

Sometimes that is a place to sleep and eat, and other times it is guidance, love, support through case management or walking hand in hand with them to show them the steps to take to self-sufficiency.

The world needs more people stepping up to be “Emergency Contacts”.  There are simply not enough people with boots on the ground helping.

If you have a large support system count yourself blessed.  In the homelessness and recovery community many do not.  You can change a life by stepping up and being there.  I challenge you wherever you live do your homework.  Research and ask the questions on how you can help local shelters and recovery facilities by volunteering, becoming a mentor, or giving of your time.

Being there for someone can literally be the difference between life and death, taking that one more step they needed to take, and not giving up.

We would love for you to come and volunteer with us at My Sister’s Keeper Emergency Women’s & Children’s Shelter in Owensboro.  Head to our website

There is a quote that says “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that, then I realized I AM THAT SOMEBODY.”  Today is the day to start being that somebody for someone else.



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