Homeless shelter prepares for colder weather

With temperatures dropping, reporter Cristian Sida explored what local homeless shelters are doing to cope.
Published: Oct. 22, 2022 at 9:48 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - As the temperatures begin to drop, homeless shelters in the valley are expected to see an increase in people needing help. Currently, in the Grand Valley, two shelters offer emergency shelter.

Homeward Bound of the Grand Valley has served more than 1,200 men, women, and children so far this year, and that number will increase as the temperature begins to drop.

“Our recommendation would be that nobody sleeps outdoors in the winter, and in western Colorado, it’s just not safe,” said Bill Wade, chair emeritus.

Wade said it’s the most challenging time of year for folks who live on the street. It’s a big concern here; after all, it is the Grand Valley’s largest shelter. Wade anticipates they’ll house 400 people at just one facility before winter ends.

So they’ve begun preparations to accommodate them. “We have some excess capacity in North Avenue of about 20 beds, which would be adding mattresses to the floor and filling up every available nook and cranny there,” said Wade. “We have the additional excess capacity here of about 40 beds, so we could actually add potentially, if necessary, up to as many as 50 to 60 beds.”

That’s just their short-term plan. Down the road, Wade is counting on the homeless coalition, a group of local organizations and people, to help meet demand.

“We’re at this time trying to figure out exactly what the process would be should we need it as a backup,” said Wade. “We can handle pretty much anything that will come our way unless we have a prolonged storm or terrible cold snap later in the year. But we’ll be ready when we do.”

In case shelters across the valley experience a huge spike, Wade wants to ask the community for help keeping the homeless people warm as cool temperatures creep up.

“This is a tough time of year for people; we urge people to give all of the members of the coalition and people who serve the homeless in this valley whatever help they need to get through the winter,” said Wade.

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