A Durango faith-based alliance is working to set up temporary day and night shelters to offer homeless residents a refuge next winter.
The Neighbors in Need Alliance plans to set up the shelters by November, said Caroline Kinser, an organizer with the group. The alliance was established this spring by volunteers from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church who are working with about 20 other churches on the effort.
The need for the shelters “had been simmering for a long time,” Kinser said.
The group came together after a harsh winter left some homeless residents camping in several feet of snow. The shelters would be open November through March and accept homeless residents with substance addictions, she said.
The group does not plan to duplicate the Durango Community Shelter, which is operated by the Volunteers of America or housing offered by any other nonprofit. The community shelter houses families and homeless residents who are sober.
For now, the shelters would operate for a single winter, Kinser said.
The group has not yet found a building for the shelters, she said, but it is working with a real estate agent and considering publicly owned properties.
“We are investigating any possibility anybody has suggested to us,” Kinser said.
Alliance members also are researching models for emergency shelters and working with homeless residents to shape the plans for the shelters, she said.
The internal structure of the alliance also is being established, she said.
St. Mark’s plans to handle donations, but fundraising hasn’t started in earnest because the alliance hasn’t identified sites for the shelters, she said.
The local reception to the alliance’s ideas has been warm, she said.
“The enthusiasm is super-encouraging,” Kinser said.
To volunteer with the alliance, email firstname.lastname@example.org