On this day in 2007, water flood waters, though receding, were nearly 10 feet above flood stage. It would take another 48 hours for the Neosho River to return to its banks. In the meantime, property owners began to assess the damage. Sadly, “The Harbor,” once a refuge for the homeless, was among the many properties that was destroyed.
The Harbor was “sunk”by the flood of 2007 and is just now, a year later, beginning to get its head above water.
The Rev. Phil Shyers, pastor of the Apostolic Assembly, is director of The Harbor.
He lives on the same block as the last building that housed The Harbor.
“I guess we're on a rise,” he said. “Our (home) is the only building that didn't take on water.”
Shyers said they were able to save only one thing from The Harbor - the people.
“When we went back to the building the next morning it was too late,” he said. “We couldn't even get in.”
Before the flood, The Harbor provided shelter for more than 30 people - male, female and families with children.
The residents moved into the basement of Shyers' church. Since that time, the number of people that the can be served is diminished.
“We can't keep families, we just don't have the facilities,” he said. “Husbands and wives have to live in different rooms.”
Right now, one of the residents of The Harbor lost his home in the Picher tornado.
Despite having the original amount of money offered them by FEMA reduced considerably, The Harbor is currently in negotiations for the purchase of property in Miami.
“I believe that the owner is under the strong conviction that we should have the building,” Shyers said. “He's lowered the price several times.”
Shyers feels that it's a good location because it's within walking distance of Work Force, the parole board and the library.
“We also will be on the city's sewer system and no longer have to deal with the waste problems from the old building,” Shyers said.
He considers the building big enough, perhaps even to eventually open a furniture thrift store to help meet The Harbor's expenses.
“We're approximately $25,000 short of the purchase price,” Shyers said. “But, I'm praying.”
Representatives of the fire department, building inspector and city engineer have walked through the building and found relatively minor repairs to be done.
If the building is purchased, some remodeling will have to be done.
The Community Disaster Recovery Coalition and the Methodist Missions have already donated some volunteers to help with the work, but money will be needed to purchase the materials.