Part of United Way of Weld County’s mission is to improve lives. When individuals are living on the street in winter months, it takes a collaborative effort to provide a warm place to sleep and a meal. With subzero temperatures lingering for weeks, many can toss a few more logs on the fire and another blanket on the bed. But there are many people who do not have a home to fill with warmth, people who rely on local shelters for support on their path to stability. But when the shelters are full, that leaves a number of individuals and families to fend for themselves against the arctic chill that has encompassed Colorado.

Because of this increased need, in fall of 2011 local Weld County agencies that work with people who are homeless identified a pressing need for additional shelter space given that the current space was full, and coalesced to create the Weld County Homeless Coalition. In order to limit the risk of exposure, the Salvation Army provided overflow shelter space for single men for the 2011-12 winter season where 694 nights of shelter were provided to 57 unduplicated people. The same service was provided by Catholic Charities during the 2012-13 winter season, providing shelter to 393 guests over 76 nights.

Additionally, during each season $1,500 was used to pay for vouchers for single women and families. These families stayed at the Greeley Inn as they transitioned to an indoor sleeping environment at a shelter or with friends or family. The typical length of stay for these households was two nights.

For the 2013-14 cold weather season, Catholic Charities Guadalupe Community Center is offering overnight shelter to single, homeless men each evening between now and March 31, 2014. These will be self-referred or referred by other agencies and the Greeley Police Department. Up to 20 men can be accommodated on any given night.  Guests may check-in from 10:00-10:15pm and, after being provided a to-go breakfast, leave the facility by 6:00am.  In addition, Greeley Transitional House is making special accommodations for single women and families that need housing on cold nights.  United Way of Weld County is funding these agency efforts, and has also made available an amount of money for families to stay in motels when the weather is inclement.  This resource is co-managed by Catholic Charities and Greeley Transitional House.

A place to sleep indoors during frigid winter nights continues to be an urgent need for people who are homeless and call Greeley and Weld County home,” noted Jeannine Truswell, President/CEO of United Way of Weld County.  “We are thankful to our agency partners for again this season offering this vital and, literally, life-saving resource.”

Continued discussion and support of the Cold Weather Shelter and attention to the needs of one of Weld County’s most vulnerable populations is facilitated through Weld County’s Homeless Coalition, a collaboration of community agencies and resources dedicated to ending homelessness in Weld County. For more information on the cold weather shelter program please contact Christopher Woodward with Catholic Charities (970-353-6433) or Jodi Hartmann at Greeley Transitional House (970-352-3215).

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