Hometown Hero: Kristy Crill
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Kristy Crill loves Savannah so much, she wants to change it.
“It is a problem that our streets are littered with panhandlers downtown. It is a problem for visitors that are coming into our city. It is a problem for business owners,” Kristy Crill said.
Crill has been addressing that problem on several levels since moving to Savannah 364 days ago.
Her Dive Savannah ministry delivers meals to homeless camps and provides outreach at Christ Anglican Church where homeless individuals can access computers and phones to try to rebuild their lives.
But her focus is a solution, not sympathy.
“My personal burn and goal and fire is to love the least of these with all that I can and all that I have. However, I am not looking to be an enabler in any way, shape or form and I am looking to serve my fellow small business owners and do something about the really big problem that we have,” Crill said.
The Dive has also started a Back to Work Program where the homeless can get individualized attention and assistance to become employable.
“We’re getting some companies to work with us in all kinds of capabilities for individuals. And what we want to do is give them an opportunity to prove themselves, so they volunteer for a month and show that they’re going to show up, they’re dependable, they do a good job,” John Reuter said.
“People that come through our program are going to learn some work ethic. They’re going to learn and be fostered into a mindset that you have absolutely no business standing on any street in Savannah with your hand out because we can teach you and get you into a position where you are earning,” Crill said.
That’s Crill’s latest project. But not her last.
She is attempting to buy the former B&B Paints building on MLK Boulevard through her newly formed 501C3 and turn it into the Dive Savannah’s new home with a day center for the homeless, a lounge for homeless veterans and four apartments for veterans whose families are too big for the Tiny Home Project.
“There’s not another one like that in this community. I’m told there’s not another one like it in the country.
A professional chef, Crill plans to include a training kitchen and offer other classes for homeless seeking jobs to continue the work this WTOC Hometown Hero has been doing non-stop in Savannah for a year.
“Just last week, we were able to work with a young lady who came to us straight from jail. She was encouraged to come to us. She needed to go to rehab, we got her into rehab. We will help people get to where they need to be, but I know where they need to be is not on our streets, not at all. That has to change,”
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