Erwin shelter comes to aid of Elizabethton counterpart

John Thompson • Mar 18, 2013 at 9:10 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Change is Possible domestic violence shelter of Erwin is used to providing assistance to those in need. Last week, it provided a different type of assistance when the organization provided $1,000 to the Shepherd’s Inn shelter in Elizabethton.

“This is really a very gracious act, especially in such a rough fiscal year for us,” said Paul Gabinet, executive director of Shepherd’s Inn.

“We’ve been very blessed,” said Carolyn McAmis, executive director of Change is Possible, otherwise known as CHIPS. “The community has just been wonderful to us and supported us.”

McAmis said CHIPS operates a successful thrift store in Erwin. “That is how we are able to help,” she said.

Thursday’s donation was just one example of how the shelters have supported each other.

Gabinet said his shelter sometimes takes clients from CHIPS and that shelter sometimes takes clients referred from Shepherd’s Inn. He said there were various reasons, but one was that if the families lived close to one of the shelters, it was safer to house the women and children in a different location.

While the two shelters have similar missions, there are some differences that provide a need for cooperation. CHIPS provides assistance for domestic violence victims, while Shepherd’s Inn also provides shelter for women and children who are temporarily homeless. Grants awarded to CHIPS are restricted to domestic violence cases.

The cooperation between the two shelters and willingness to support each other was appreciated by Carter County Sheriff Chris Mathes, who is on the board of directors of both organizations.

“I want to make sure both shelters are around for a long time, because we need you,” he told Gabinet and McAmis.

Mathes said he hoped to bring in another organization with a slightly different mission in the future, Red Legacy, which provides transitional housing.

For more information, call CHIPS at 743-0022 or the crisis line at 388-8281. Call Shepherd’s Inn at 542-0180.

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