Credibility is not something that is for sale.
Some people spend a lifetime banking that credibility, earning it in big and small ways.
Ron King is one of those guys.
For more than a quarter century, King helped grow and expand the Pastoral Institute from a community resource into a community treasure. Many people in this region have found themselves sitting in a Pastoral Institute waiting room at some of the darkest moments in their lives. The counseling and mental health professionals there help people put the pieces back together.
King left his post as chief executive officer last December and spent this year feeling his way through the early stages of retirement.
A week ago, King was asked to go back to work for a few months. He will be the interim executive director of Home for Good, an umbrella agency charged with fighting the city’s homeless problem.
He is the right person at the right time to try and pull those in the trenches together to work on a complex problem.
Christie Bevis has spent the last three and a half years building the plane that is Home for Good while she was flying it. It hasn’t been easy. God bless her for her service and commitment.
Home for Good grew out of Mayor Jim Wetherington’s task force to eliminate homelessness in Columbus. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has embraced it and moved it forward.
Bevis, under the leadership of the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, was charged with bringing together dozens of agencies — public, private and faith-based — to address the serious homeless problem in Columbus, She’s done a good job under difficult circumstances. Let’s be honest, the scope of this problem is such that different people see different solutions. Sometimes they don’t even agree to disagree. And Bevis has worked through that.
This issue will not come close to a resolution until all of those in the fight realize that sustainable long-term shelter is the most basic of those needs.
That is where Home for Good, armed with housing vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, can make a huge dent in this problem. There are north of 1,500 homeless people in this community. There are probably about 500 that you see daily on the streets. Those housing vouchers are making and will make a difference with those folks.
This is where King comes into the picture. He has great credibility in this community; and he has spent the last two years trying to understand the issues around the homeless problem.
He is positioned to set the next executive director up for great success. He can reach out to those in the faith community. He has the ear, and more importantly the trust, of the traditional private funders.
If he jumps into this like most expect, he can do something that is powerful and lasting.
And that would be a great gift.