MT. VERNON — The Lifeboat Alliance homeless shelter is now one of six finalists competing for the prestigious Governor's Cup award, said Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley.
Recently, Lifeboat Alliance won a 2013 Governor's Hometown Award in the category of Service and Mentoring. There are six award categories.
This achievement puts the agency in the running for the Governor's Cup, which is awarded annually to one of the six Hometown Award winners.
“We are elite just by winning in our category. We would be super-elite if we won the Governor's Cup,” Chesley said. “It shows people throughout the state that the people of Mt. Vernon step forward to work together and do outstanding projects to help make Mt. Vernon a quality city.”
Lifeboat Alliance opened in October 2012. It not only serves as a homeless shelter, but operates a number of programs to help the disadvantaged transition back into the workplace and find stable housing.
Jenny O'Daniel, executive director of Lifeboat Alliance, said the honor of being named a Governor's Cup finalist comes at an “opportune” time since Oct. 1 is the shelter's one-year anniversary.
“This speaks volumes,” O'Daniel said of the achievement.
Since its inception, Lifeboat Alliance has serviced about 150 families through its programs, said Marilyn Shipp-Gary, casework manager/security guard at the shelter.
“We're proud to be able to help the community and the surrounding communities,” Shipp-Gary said.
Before Lifeboat Alliance, meeting the needs of the homeless in this area was a “fragmented process,” said Bonnie Jerdon, tourism director of Mt. Vernon.
But the new shelter, Jerdon said, has taken a multi-faceted approach to helping the homeless and it has proven effective.
“There's just a lot more to it than just a shelter,” Jerdon said.
This is the second time a Mt. Vernon project has been a finalist for the Governor's Cup, Chesley said.