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SURVIVING HOMELESSNESS: Bainbridge women's shelter resumes intake thanks to new hire

Women in crisis seeking refuge have turned to Friends with Jesus Ministries for decades.
Posted at 5:42 PM, Dec 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-21 17:42:06-05
  • "If you feel you're at rock bottom, you can change your life,” said Nikki Stewart, artist and manager of Refinery.
  • After a three month wait, intake has resumed after the organization hired a new director this week.
  • Watch the story to hear stories of how women survived homelessness.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

It's a pathway to rejoin society.

"If you feel you're at rock bottom, you can change your life,” said Nikki Stewart, artist and manager of Refinery.

Women with nowhere left to turn are counting on one of our local options.

"[I] was able to have a fresh start and begin my new life and my new journey,” said Stewart. The Refinery is a candle shop located in downtown Bainbridge.

Stewart reflects back on how far she has come since reaching a breaking point back in 2017. "I was homeless and going through a difficult divorce and custody battle. I just didn't know how to get back on my feet,” said Stewart.

She became a resident of Still Waters, a shelter for women and children offered through Friends Ministries.

Friends with Jesus Ministries opened back in 1991 and continues to serve hundreds of South Georgians through an after school program, retail shop known as the Refinery and shelter.

But, for the past three months housing intake was put on hold while the organization searched for a new director.

"To help them get back into society. Where they can just live and be on their own,” said Stephanie Sorrelle, the director of Still Waters. As of Monday Sorrelle has stepped into the role of director for Still Waters allowing intake to resume.

She said past life experience has prepared her to guide other women. "I was going to school. I was working. I had it all together seemingly."

The shelter is a transitional housing program offered to women and children. The program is generally a 90-day process based on an individual's needs and goals.

Stewart says the time she spent at the shelter was a major stepping stone.

"Seven years later I'm very blessed to still have the encouragement of all the women,” said Stewart.

Sorrelle said she plans to work with each resident to get back into society through individualized pathway programs.

Now that intake has reopened, reach out to the organization directly here.