Emporia Rescue Mission to bend rules, allow Topeka’s homeless to seek shelter

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Emporia Rescue Mission looks a bit different than the Topeka Rescue Mission.

It’s an unsuspecting yellow house is home to just 20 people at a time.

This shelter has also had struggles with money in the past.

Lee Alderman is the Executive Director of the Emporia Rescue Mission.

In 2010, the mission only had just $10 in its checking account.

“The community heard about that and the community came out and supported us and today we’re strong we have a community behind us,” Alderman said.

As Topeka’s Rescue Mission struggles, Alderman hopes people in Topeka will do the same.

In the meantime, he’s bending the rules to help.

The Emporia Rescue Mission’s rule is to take in folks from the area.

“We like them to have a parole officer, probation officer or family within a 20 to 30-mile radius,” Alderman said.

With the news about the Topeka Rescue Mission’s financial struggle, Alderman wants to help.

“That way it helps us provide a support network that these guys need,” Alderman said. “It kind of adds another accountability to them that helps them be successful.”

Running a rescue mission isn’t easy. Alderman’s been searching for a new facility with the help of their supporters for two years. But it’s been difficult to find a better home where neighbors will accept their presence.

“Those people need some help or we’re going to find them sleeping under bridges,” Scott Strahm, a supporter of the Emporia Rescue Mission said. “And so boy, if we can help them bring back dignity to life, that’s vitally important. Just to come along and accept and love a person, it’s extremely important.” 

As of Tuesday’s interview, they can only take in eight people. But Alderman said the turnover rate is high.

There is an abundance of factory jobs in Emporia. That helps the people in the mission get back on their feet quickly.

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