DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -A Duncan native who was once homeless is now preparing to help others who are down on their luck.
Layne Smith, president of the Sought out Ministries Homeless Shelter, says he wound up homeless not long after serving in Vietnam. Thanks to the help of some close friends, he got back on his feet and started a life in the ministry, which included working with the homeless. In November 2015, a friend encouraged him to open a shelter in Duncan where he could continue that ministry. Now, it's just a few weeks from becoming a reality.
There isn't a long-term homeless shelter in Duncan, and Smith says he knows of at least 13 families who are homeless and would benefit from the shelter. After the word got around that he was building this one, two people have already asked to move in and Smith didn't have the heart to turn them away.
After going through a divorce, Tommy Webb says he found himself not only alone, but homeless.
"Well, I ran into some hard times and had to leave my mother's house. I had no place to go, I have no friends, I have no family…so I come here to see if I could get some help from somebody," Webb said.
Webb says he found out about the shelter from one of their employees who just happened to be a childhood friend. He says tragic life experiences have left him with severe anxiety, but he found a way to speak from his heart to say where he would live if he didn't have the shelter for a temporary home.
"You want me to be honest with you, I do, on the streets. I'm serious, on the streets if I didn't have this place. So, this is kind of a blessing because I have no one," Webb said.
Smith says he also knows what it feels like to be all alone.
"It destroys all hope. It makes you like you have no future and that life is over," Smith said.
Smith says he eventually found his footing and vowed to live a life of serving others when he got back on his feet. Something that brings him great joy.
"By providing for someone that has lost all hope, it don't only build their hope but it builds mine too," Smith said.
That hope is something Webb says will not only help him, but other to rebuild their lives while at the shelter.
"So, this is a place that I can go that I can count on so other people can count on it too," Webb said.
Smith says all of the residents will be given 30 days to find a job and get themselves ready to transition into their own home. If that doesn't happen, the shelter will try and help them in that process.
Smith hopes the community can help with some basic supplies for the shelter's residents, such as toiletries, bedding and non-perishable food items.
Use the following information to get in touch with the shelter if you'd like to make a donation:
Sought out Ministries Homeless Shelter
P.O. Box 2138
Duncan, OK 73534