SOUTH KINGSTOWN – At the Welcome House of South County human service workers not only have to worry about their own personal issues like paying the bills and taking care of their children, they worry about the livelihood of the people they help and serve.
The executive director of Welcome House, Linda Barden has been working with the homeless population for 27 years, 15 of which was spent at the Welcome House. Barden said working with the state’s homeless population takes a toll. She recalled one incident last Thanksgiving when Peace Dale Elementary School kindergarteners arrived at the shelter to donate goods, a young girl asked her if her missing mother was at the shelter.
“I didn’t want this kindergartener going by this building and thinking her mom was there and not wanting her, which I’m sure is not the whole case. It’s just out of nowhere, everything is fine and then it hits you,” Barden said.
As a shelter that provides transitional housing for individuals, the Welcome House sees the ups and downs of its clients. The Welcome House of South County began in 1989 to offer a place to stay for Rhode Island’s homeless and as a resource for people to learn career developmental skills.