In these tough economic times the homeless rate is going up but funding for the only homeless shelter in town is going down.
Temperatures are dropping but some families in the Grand Valley are starting to feel the heat from the economy. The homeward bound facility has just 95 beds and many of them that were once reserved for single people are now being reserved only for families in need.
Homeward Bound director Teresa Black says that about 80% of the folks they house are employed but are having trouble dealing with Grand Junction’s 1.7 percent vacancy rate. Black says, "when you get evicted or can't afford rent anymore and you start looking for another place, there's no other place.”
According to a study done by Homeward Bound, the cost to stay in low end motels for a month ranges from $1650 to $1800 dollars a month; not to mention the cost of food. This leaves some families temporarily calling the homeless shelter "home".
The homeless shelter has moved boundaries around to make more room for families and has even started having women sleep in the single men's area.
People have also been sleeping on cots on the floor so as many people can get shelter, but still 14 people were turned away from the shelter last night. These problems were supposed to be fixed with a building expansion scheduled to be done last year but that's now on hold. Black says this is "while we figure out if we can have a bigger building those plans have been put on hold, but they're not dead in the water."
Black says that donating as little as $10 per paycheck can house a family of five for a week, and help make one family's world a little brighter and warmer.