Christmas in transition; working towards a better tomorrow

Transitioning at Dixie Care & Share in St. George, Utah, Dec. 23, 2014 | Photo by Melissa Anderson, KCSG / St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Dixie Care and Share Transition Center is where 36 St. George residents will be spending their Christmas morning this year thanks to the new program that supports employed individuals who would otherwise be homeless in their goals to gain self-sufficiency.

Indeterminate housing provides people who are working, employed, or have a fixed income with a place to call home for a nominal weekly fee that is low enough to help them save the cash it takes to cover a deposit, first month’s rent and utilities on future permanent housing, said Robert Schaefer, Dixie Care and Share director of operations.

“Today we have 36 people in transitional housing,” he said. “… one guy just got here the night before last, but I have people here already that have been here for six months.”

(report continues below)


Videocast by Melissa Anderson, KCSG and St. George News

The transitional housing is still a fairly new project, Schaefer said, and so Dixie Care and Share facilitators are still feeling it out, but, he said, it’s anticipated that it could take anywhere from one to two years for a resident to save enough money to be able to move out on their own.

“We’ve realized that with the wage basis in St. George that this could take up to two years,” he said.

The rent versus wages in St. George are not exactly in the same playing field, Schaefer said, and though there are plenty of jobs to be had in the area, it is difficult to find a position that will sustain the cost of living for most people with whom they come into contact.

“I don’t think that it’s particularly hard right now to find a job,” he said. “I think it’s probably hard to find a job that will totally sustain your living, because I know that the majority of available jobs in St. George are in the service industry and the wages are typically low – in an area where rent is not typically low.”

Most people end up working two jobs so they can save the money needed to move on permanent housing, Schaefer said.

Currently employed, 25-year-old Melody Schabow, who is a single mother of three, said she has also gone back to school to work towards her General Educational Development, or GED, certificate. It is because those who run the transition housing at the Dixie Care and Share push her to work harder and want more for herself and her children that she has achieved so much recently.

They push you to do what you need to do in life to become self-sufficient,” Schabow said. “The directors … and a lot of the others have been really helpful towards me – pushing me to maintain employment and I started going back to school at Stevens-Henager.”

In addition to three meals a day that are provided to the residents at the transition center, volunteers come in and work with them as case managers and teach them how to navigate various services that are available in the city, as well as budget and save their money.

While she said she could admit it wasn’t the best place in the world to be, Schabow said, she feels more and more empowered, because of the environment she is in.

Sometimes I am feeling down and everybody will just pick you up and tell you how proud they are of you and it’ll help you keep going,” she said. “So it may not be the best place in the world to be, but it’s definitely comforting here.”

The homeless shelter is full right now, Schaefer said. If transition housing didn’t exist, young mothers like Schabow would most likely be spending their holiday somewhere out in the cold.

“There has to be, necessarily, some place for these people, especially (the ones) with kids, to be housed,” he said. “We can’t have them on the street.”

This time of year, Shaefer said, has always been the best time of year for fundraising goods and services and funds for Dixie Care and Share. He said it is inspiring to live in a community that pulls together the way that the citizens of St. George do.

“I have to say,” Schaefer said. “I’ve lived in numerous cities and towns in my life and I have yet to see one that is as giving as St. George, Utah is – if there is a need, these people will fill it.”

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Carin Miller

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • groanattack December 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Yeah, you can call me a grinch. But I have been reading this same headline and story for over 50 years. Nothing changes, it just remains the same.

  • Melda December 25, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I don’t buy it. There are ways to make it work on low wages. It’s all about the choices your make and budgeting. The mother pictured looks like she has spent plenty on her wardrobe, hair and phone. Perhaps what she needs is a budgeting class. It really is not that hard to save up money. You can also pool your money together with others and share a small place. It’s also about being a hard worker. If you work hard you will be compensated. I do understand the need for some individuals but most have the capabilities to take of themselves. Make better choices people.

    • Joe Smith December 26, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      LOL, the moderation didn’t like my original comment i guess–i think there were to many references to mormons. Anyways “melda”, you might not wanna be so judging bc one day you might find yourself in need of some help one day, and i think you’re probably a total narcissist.

    • Koolaid December 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      That is an odd picture. Spoonful of food for the toddler in one hand, cellphone in the other. Hopefully she doesn’t get caught up with her text messages and accidentally shoves the spoon into the kid’s eye and causes so much anxiety and damage she’ll need a fundraiser for her emotional pain.

  • BeVan December 25, 2014 at 8:04 am

    When I went up to the new facility to drop off a donation, I was suprksd to see everyone smoking by the tree and lawn furniture. I was really disappointed to see the very pregnant girl smoking too. I can only imagine how much money is wasted on tobacco. Are the people in this program drug tested? Maybe smokers and drug users should be eliminated from this program If you have money for cigs and/or drugs, your on your own. You’ve got to have priorities.

    • Koolaid December 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

      I’m surprised at how many ‘poor’ people can afford big trucks, guns, cosmetic surgeries and various bling and tattoos, not to mention those poor people who have money to throw at their church.

      • Betty December 25, 2014 at 10:46 pm

        Well I’m not of the “predominate” faith but I do tithe to my church – and I do it gladly. I’ll take 90% with God than 100% by myself. It’s a personal decision and if I didn’t ever tithe another penny, my church could care less. From the sounds of your comments, it appears you’ve had a bad experience or 2 in a “religious” organization f some sort -maybe the predominate one. Praying, Koolaid, that one day you’ll reach out and seek Him and the truth.

        • koolaid December 26, 2014 at 10:55 pm

          I’d invest that 10% toward a guaranteed retirement instead of the religious koolaid kountry klub which guarantees you nothing. BTW, you don’t need to be a member of any religious kkk to help people.

    • Joe Smith December 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      If is an interesting thing how tobacco use is so prevalent among the lower income bracket. I guess if Utah outlawed tobacco all the poor people would have to move to California. Would be an interesting experiment huh?

  • ladybugavenger December 26, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I’m surprised at how many people in this area use food stamps and have their nails done, hair done, boobs done, nice clothes…geeeeez when I was on food stamps I was poor and had none of those things done.

    • Joe Smith December 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Well if you’ve got 10 kids you can get a lot of foodstamps. that’s a fact. I wonder if they are also part of the crowd that goes on tirades about how Obamas going to take all the guns. And how does one go about paying the Lord’s 10% out of the foodstamps? Does the bishop accept EBT cards or just visa/mastercard?

      • ladybugavenger December 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm

        Ohhhh that’s where I went wrong, I stopped at 2 kids LOL

  • ladybugavenger December 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I work retail so I see this kind of stuff and yep I’m judging your clothes, hair, nails, shoes…

  • Dana December 27, 2014 at 5:10 am

    “They push you to do what you need to do in life to become self-sufficient,” Schabow said. ”
    With three children, THAT should be enough motivation. You made them. You should be grown up enough not to need motivation from strangers. Where are the father’s in these situations?

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