Now that Douglas County is experiencing more frequent freezing temperatures, it's likely that those who are struggling in the area are leaning on the county's winter shelter network. The network, …
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Now that Douglas County is experiencing more frequent freezing temperatures, it's likely that those who are struggling in the area are leaning on the county's winter shelter network.
The network, made up of nine churches, provides temporary shelter for homeless women and children in the county.
“Our focus is to provide rest, meals and connection,” care coordinator Merari Stacy said.
Stacy meets with guests to help them determine short and long-term goals, such as securing permanent housing.
Last season, the network served 35 guests and the average stay was about 50 days, Stacey said. As of Nov. 22, the shelter had 13 guests.
So what's the best way to help out?
There are a few main ways: donating clothes, donating time, or by signing up to be a network church.
The shelter is always looking for things like snow coats, winter clothes and pants, Stacy said. Guests are allowed to go through these items at one of the churches and find what they need.
Those interested in donating can call The Rock church in Castle Rock at 303-688-0777.
The winter shelter network's website also has a list of volunteer opportunities for those interested in getting involved in a more hands-on way. Those interested can email firstname.lastname@example.org. About 20 to 30 volunteers are needed each night.
“We have roles with or without contact with the guests,” Stacy said.
Churches interested in contributing to the network can also sign up to be a host facility.
“Overall it would be amazing to have a bigger network of churches to make the presence even bigger across the county,” Stacy said.
Another thing residents of the county can do is keep an eye and ear out for people who may benefit from the services at the winter shelter network.
“The biggest thing is making sure that individuals and families across our community talk about this,” Stacy said, “And continue to help our residents in the country who are at risk.”
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