Busy homeless shelter says cold will bring even more, asking community for help

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The Homeward Bound Homeless Shelter can sleep roughly 110 people but staff say they've housed that many and more each night for the past several months. Now, with the weather taking a chilly turn for the worst, they expect even more people to come.

Tauna Gordon is a single mother with no place to live. She says trying to get through a cold day and keep her baby daughter warm is miserable.

"It's hard," says Gordon. "I have to go find a ride, or I have to ride the buses. But they don't want you to ride the buses all day long."

That's why she can't wait until 5 p.m. each night, when Homeward Bound opens its doors.

"It's a safe place for me to have my daughter at night," she says. "It's really, really cold and she's seven months old, so it's a good place to be."

And she's not the only one who feels that way.

"It's a very good feeling that I can come here and know that I can be warm," says Brian Long, who has been coming to the shelter off and on for the past seven years.

Shelter staff says over the past few months, they've noticed a dramatic increase in the number of families seeking their help.

"There are a lot more people that are either closer to homelessness or in homelessness than what has been true in years past," says Jordan McGinnis, program coordinator for Homeward Bound.

He thanks local churches volunteering to take in overflow, they've been able to meet the need so far -- in fact, they haven't had to turn a single person away once this year.

"We really wanted to make sure that we weren't turning anybody away into the cold just because we had no more space," says McGinnis. "But as cold as it is, that certainly could happen here at any point."

To keep up with the increased demand, the shelter says it is relying on donations and volunteers more than ever. "If we don't get the community support that we've gotten in years past, and hopefully more this year, we could maybe not be doing this job as well as we have," says McGinnis.

Those staying there hope the community responds. "Whatever you do to help out others will turn around and come back to you," says Long. "Because you never know when you might end up in the same situation."

Below is a list of supplies the shelter says it needs. Those items and money donations can be dropped off at the shelter, located at 2853 North Avenue.

Top 5 Wishes
-55 gallon black garbage bags
-cold and flu medicine
-men's socks
-sleeping bags / blankets / pillows
-coffee / sugar

Other Wish Items
-shaving cream and razors
-ear plugs
-cough drops
-Tylenol / Advil / Aspirin
-foot deodorizer
-tampons
-toothpaste
-shampoo / conditioner
-Pinesol / bleach / cleanser
-air fresheners
-Band-Aids
-toilet paper
-tissues
-styrofoam coffee cups
-diapers
-heavy duty can opener
-canned fruit / fresh fruit
-condiments
-pancake mix
-canned goods
-drink mixes (Tang, lemonade, hot chocolate)


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