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Murray City Council Mulls Approaches to Keeping Gentry House Open


The Murray City Council is asking the board of a non-profit that provides homeless housing to rescind its decision to close at the end of January.

The Gentry House, which houses four homeless families, decided to close last year due to lack of funding and staffing difficulties - four executive directors in six years.

But Mayor Bill Wells and Calloway County Judge-Executive Larry Elkins, working with Murray Human Rights Commission chair Jody Cofer Randall, have pledged an additional $1,000 from the city and county, respectively. That would up the total amount Gentry House is receiving from local governments to $12,000 a year, but Gentry House board chair Rose Bogal-Allbritten said that’s not enough.

“It’s going to be a difficult decision, because as I said $1,000 is a little bit more, but it’s a little bit more,” Bogal-Allbritten said. “It’s not sufficient to keep us going.”

Councilman Robert Billington proposed an alternate plan at Thursday night’s meeting that would place Gentry House under the purview of the Housing Authority of Murray, which currently pays in-lieu-of tax payments to the city.

“Let’s look at taking some of the money from that $28,000 they’re paying in taxes and put it back into the Gentry House so they can hire someone to work underneath the housing authority,” Billington said. “Giving an extra $1,000 and the county giving an extra $1,000 is basically Band-Aiding the situation.”

Murray Housing executive director Faye Dodd was present at the meeting and said her board would be receptive to the idea.

The Gentry House board will meet Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. to discuss the proposals and the possibility of rescinding the decision to close.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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