It is no secret that Durant has a homeless issue and one member of the community is working to bring these displaced individuals new hope. Michelle Chester founded I’m-Possible, Inc. in 2015 and has since been working to create a facility to offer aid to homeless individuals.
The facility is currently being remodeled and still requires a $19,000 sprinkler system before it can open its doors. It is a nonprofit that relies solely on community donations to operate.
Once open, the shelter will offer services such as showers, grooming areas, laundry facilities, mental health services and housing to those individuals in need.
The I’m-Possible mission is to, “Receive, Rebuild and Return.” Chester says her main goal is to rebuild people’s lives so they do not return to the streets.
“I want to better the legacies of these individuals,” she continued, “Poverty and instability can be a family cycle and I hope to break that cycle for these individuals through I’m-Possible.”
Former City Manager, Tim Rundel, experienced dealing with homelessness first-hand in several cities that he previously managed. According to Rundel, the main factors leading to homelessness in Durant are mental health and addiction.
He believes that, as a state, the people have turned their backs on mental health and addiction issues for decades; putting their focus on incarceration as opposed to rehabilitation.
Rundel’s experience managing other cities led him to say Durant is not helping homeless individuals to its full potential.
“Some cities are creating warming shelters for the homeless in the winter months,” he said.
He stressed bringing humanity back into dealing with homeless, saying, “We must stop treating the homeless as criminals and find ways to get them back on their feet and back on a safe path.”
Both Chester and Rundel stressed the need for community support in the process of rebuilding these individuals’ lives.
Further information on I’m-Possible, Inc. can be found on their Facebook page.