Fresh Start

Homeless women rebuild their lives at Fresh Start in a refurbished former church. The shelter is built around empowering women to change their lives by recognizing their strengths to overcome barriers.

Officials at a homeless shelter for women in Havelock have asked for donations of old cellphones, cellphone chargers and phone cards to help them link up with those awaiting the shelter's services.

Fresh Start, at 6433 Havelock Ave., has 24 beds that allow women to stay there for up to a year while they rebuild their lives, board member Michael Reinmiller said Thursday.

But the shelter is always at capacity and often has to put women on its waiting list, he said.

When a bed opens up, staff there can have a hard time contacting some women on the waiting list who might not have a working phone or an up-to-date address, Reinmiller said.

So Fresh Start and the Lincoln Police Department have partnered in an effort to help the shelter ensure women receive service as needed.

"We don't know if this system is going to work, but we're sure going to try," Reinmiller said.

Phones, charges and phone cards can be dropped off at any of the three main police stations: LPD Headquarters, 575 S. 10th St., the University Place substation at 48th Street and Huntington Avenue, and the Center Team substation at 27th and Holdrege streets.

Donors should drop gifts off during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Officer Angela Sands said.

Fresh Start serves women 19 and older. Stays in the transitional shelter generally range from three to nine months, Reinmiller said. While in the shelter, women receive job training and help getting their finances in order so they can move out on their own.

Helping a woman in crisis get into shelter is worth dropping off the old cellphone that's sitting unused in a home drawer, he said.

"If it can maybe save someone's life, why not?" Reinmiller said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


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