Local homeless shelters have been working tirelessly to get people off the streets and into warm beds. It’s fair to say that Northern California has been hit with unusually severe winter storms.
With another wave on its way–homeless shelters like the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation are preparing to continue operating as an emergency shelter longer than usual.
“This is very much needed, the weather is so bad,” Betty Chinn, the Executive Director of the Homeless Foundation said. “Normally I would open the winter shelter from October until late April or early May, but this year looks much longer.”
It’s not just an overnight stay that the foundation is offering. Their day center is now being used as a warming center–for anyone on the streets in need of a break from the cold.
“We opened our day center into a warming center,” Chinn said. “Anybody can come in and sit down here while we can provide lunch and stuff for them to eat.”
Right now, clothing donations–especially winter wear–are greatly appreciated and needed at the foundation.
Over at the Eureka Rescue Mission on 2nd St– the shelter is using every inch of their three facilities to bring people in.
“It’s going well, we have a lot of people coming in and we can put in 120-140, and there’s even more,” Bryan Hall, the Executive Director of the Rescue Mission said. “We make room in our hallway out here so we’re using every spot in our shelter that we have.”
Since the weather has brought extreme conditions– the Rescue Mission’s emergency shelter policies are a bit more lenient for those seeking shelter this time of year.
“The only difference is in these cold nights and wet nights, we actually lower our barrier in regard to people coming in with a little bit of alcohol in their system, which we normally don’t allow,” Hall said. “We normally breathalyze them, and so right now, if people come in–if they’ve had a little bit of alcohol and they can behave themselves, they can stay.”
Though it has been a difficult winter for most this year– the Eureka Rescue Mission is also prepared to keep its doors open for however long the storms last.
“We will be set up as an emergency shelter until the emergency ends,” Hall said.
The Eureka Rescue Mission is in need of financial donations–hoping to raise funds to finish the last renovation phases at their women and childrens center. This renovated facility would house over 70 women and children — a great need in our community.
For donation information visit these sites.
The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation: www.bettychinn.org
The Eureka Rescue Mission: http://www.eurekarescuemission.org/