Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 4, 2012

Beginning at Clean Start

New program to serve area homeless

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — There will still be a few details to tend to before anyone gets a shower and a shave after Saturday’s dedication ceremony at Ashland Area Presbyterian Ministries’ Clean Start, although organizers say it shouldn’t be long before they too can serve the community at The Neighborhood.

“Clean Start is a new program and we’re just getting started. It is an effort to serve homeless people in the area. It provides showers and haircuts and mailboxes,” said Sheri Seagraves, director of Ashland Area Presbyterian Ministries, explaining the program, which will be housed in the corner between Ashland Community Kitchen and The Dressing Room, has two spacious showers, two hair-cutting stations and 40 mailboxes.

Seagraves said “Clean Start” will initially be open as an afternoon-only operation. “It will probably be from 1 to 4, Monday through Friday, and we’ll see how that goes,” Seagraves said. “We think we’ll possibly need some morning hours, but this way it will let people get a hot meal, get some fresh clothes and get cleaned up.”

Seagraves will initially be the only one running things at “Clean Start,” and she hopes to recruit a professional cosmetologist willing to lend their time and talent to the project. “Clean Start” will also provide a great deal of rewards for minimal costs, she said.

“It’s really not that much. We have to pay for utilities and liability insurance. We’ve had a lot of individuals offer their help, and Morning Pointe wants to help by making toiletry bags. We have a Scout volunteer who is working on his Eagle Scout ... it’s really mostly a volunteer-driven effort.”

 Those served by Clean Start will receive support as part of The Neighborhood’s programs, with CAReS serving as the “clearinghouse,” Seagraves said.

With details including the name on the sign and installation of sprinkler system equipment before Clean Start is officially in operation, Seagraves said she does hope for a turnout during the dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (606) 324-5802.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.