This Christmas, Kentucky citizens are being reminded that they are truly in “Coal Country” because the Grinch has brought a big lump of coal for the state’s Christmas stocking and its something dark from deep in the mines in the form of mean-spirited homeless shelter operator that kicked out all of the women — and now has kicked out everyone.
Around the first week of December, the world was shocked to find out that a Kentucky homeless shelter was banning women because of a “sex problem.”
Since the story quickly snowballed, starting on December 9 from WYMT, there have been no updates about the homeless women affected since December 14. On the other hand, hundreds of people are still taking time to let this homeless shelter know they are outraged — and looking for justice.
Recapping the original story, Raw Story wrote on December 14 that the women in the Christian Emergency Services facility in Williamsburg, Kentucky, were moved to “A female-only KCEOC shelter in Gray, Kentucky.”
The follow-up on the original story included no direct information about the individual homeless women from WYMT. Alternatively, as if banning the women was not bad enough, on December 14, they reported the following update.
“Director Billy Woodward said the shelter will now close temporarily so they can make renovations.”
They also stated that about 12 homeless women were displaced along with the men that lived there.
FOX 13 Now reports no new updates on December 17, but does have a rare negative statement in the comments section that says, “If the women can’t abide by the rules of the homeless shelter then they deserve the boot.”
Despite this one comment that seems to agree with the actions of the Williamsburg homeless shelter, most of the public is in full support of the people that got asked to leave Christian Emergency Services.
As late as December 18, people were posting online about how the homeless shelter organization should not refer to itself as “Christian” — among other angry remarks.
In addition to the comments section on articles about the homeless organization, or Twitter, people have created a Facebook page for the Christian Emergency Services homeless shelter so they can voice their complaints with one-star “reviews.”
Among the hundreds of reviews publicly posted between December 9 and December 18, one woman wrote the following that captured the sentiment of many of the comments.
“You have put yourself on the map as an un-Christian organization that blames poor women and children for ‘luring’ men into sex. This is known as ‘blaming the victims.’ You should not be allowed to stay open, nor should you get any money from government or church sources. You have not learned anything about what Jesus taught. Go live on the street with some children for awhile, so you can see what harm you are inflicting on them.”
Another place where people are voicing their outrage is on the Yellow Pages webpage for the homeless shelter. In defense of the homeless women kicked out of the Williamsburg shelter, one man wrote, “And you call yourselves Christians? You must be reading a different Bible than I. Kicking women and children out in winter during the holiday season and justifying it with God. How low can you stoop?”
On the Facebook page of the Kentucky chapter for the National Organization for Women (NOW), they posted a link to the story about Christian Emergency Services banning women and got a response from the Mayor of Williamsburg’s daughter.
“Mayor Harrison said the city, like many others, faces a homeless issue. He said he does not want to pass judgment on the shelter director’s decision, but said it is ‘not something the city feels should be done.’ You can voice your outrage at the Emergency Christian Ministries at [X]. Their voice mail states, ‘Why don’t you call on Jesus Christ.'”
Countering this, on December 15, Mandy Harrison wrote the following under the Kentucky NOW post about the ban on homeless females in Williamsburg, Kentucky.
“This is Mayor Roddy Harrison’s daughter. Thank you for posting this correction. If you want to meet a feminist you should meet me. If you want to meet another, you should meet my father. What the shelter is doing I find positively abhorrent. The city of Williamsburg has absolutely NO involvement in this decision. I would appreciate it if you would please delete the incorrect, libelous post from before.”
However, it is unlikely that anyone is going to forget about this incident anytime soon. For example, the German press has been covering the issue, and articles about the ban on homeless women in Kentucky are being covered by News Deutschland, and the popular Stern.
Will there be any justice for the women, men, and children thrown out of a homeless shelter before Christmas? As it appears, many of the comments on social media include references that Emergency Christian Ministries “receive[s] federal funding through Wheatley County to operate.”
Legal documents about this particular Williamsburg, Kentucky, homeless shelter receiving federal funding are not readily available online, but this is not stopping citizens outraged about the incident. For instance, one of the reviewers for Christian Emergency Ministries on Yellow Pages wrote the following.
“I just reported this ministry to the I.R.S., the State of Kentucky Department of Corporations and the Department of Justice. No way should these jerks receive state or federal funds or qualify as a non-profit when they have banned women and children from their shelter. Also, I have asked Stop Patriarchy Now to picket you. Hope your non-profit status is withdrawn.”
As it appears, the homeless shelter, if funded by federal dollars, would be in violation of new HUD rules. According to a February 21 report by the Washington Blade, “The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Friday announced single-sex homeless shelters that receive federal funding must provide access to anyone, regardless of their gender identity and expression.”
[Picture by George Marks/Stringer/Getty Images]