Glenwood churches step up to provide overnight shelter
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A rise in the number of area homeless, coupled with dwindling funds, has led a nonprofit homeless relief organization to turn to two churches in an effort to continue its overnight shelter program this winter.
In past years, Feed My Sheep has rented rooms at the Silver Spruce Motel in Glenwood Springs to serve as an overnight shelter for people in need during the winter months. The program began after a local homeless woman froze to death a few years ago.
“The Silver Spruce has been great to us, but with the changes in the economy there was no way to afford to continue to do that this winter,” Feed My Sheep director Kenneth Williams said.
However, he was able to work out a deal to provide shelter at Sonlight Foursquare Church and the Glenwood Church of Christ.
“We knew going into the winter that we were going to have to expand again this year,” Williams said. “We had planned to rent more rooms, but donations were coming in lower than in the past, and we knew we couldn’t do that.”
Use of the church space will allow Feed My Sheep to house up to 30 people overnight, where last year it was only able to accommodate 25 people, he said.
The shelter began operating Nov. 16 using the motel rooms temporarily until arrangements could be finalized with the churches.
Anyone needing shelter is to check in at Feed My Sheep’s downtown day center, located in the Catholic Charities building, and they will be bused to the shelter locations. The shelter program will continue to operate through March.
Overall, Williams said Feed My Sheep is about $20,000 to $30,000 short of its annual budget this year of $180,000.
The shelter program itself usually operates on about $30,000, and so far this year has received about $22,000 in donations to Feed My Sheep’s special “Save a Life” fund, he said.
Meanwhile, the number of homeless people in Glenwood Springs seeking assistance is up. Although it’s too early to tell how many people will use the overnight program, the day center is seeing about 30 people a day.
“We had about 20 to 22 people a day on average last year,” Williams said. “There is a little more need than usual.”
The day center offers a place where people can have a meal, take a shower, do laundry and take care of any personal business such as lining up potential work.