Identifying the need

Local agencies: Temporary housing for homeless needed in Craig


— Transitional and emergency housing still is a need to be met in Moffat County, said Pat Jones, Love INC executive director.

And more people than her think the same thing.

Jones created a subcommittee to investigate the issue, seeking input from other local agencies - including The Community Budget Center - that provide services to residents with financial difficulties, she said.

Representatives from these groups, many of which collaborate with Love INC, met for the first time Monday.

The result: All 20 individuals present agreed that they've seen the need for emergency and transitional housing in Moffat County, Jones said.

The executive director plans to collect data that shows how many people require temporary housing annually in Moffat County.

On any given night, 21,730 Coloradans are homeless, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development a news release.

From February to April 2005, approximately 704,000 people were housed in emergency shelters and transitional housing, according to HUD.

For Jones, homelessness also is a local issue.

"Transitional housing is a constant need" in Moffat County, she said.

Jones defines transitional housing as accommodations for people who need living space while they earn enough money to support themselves again. In some cases, this housing may be rent-free.

The arrangement allows people to "get back on their feet," she said.

In contrast, emergency housing provides temporary shelter for a few days.

Jones encounters people who need housing, either for one night or an extended period of time, through the nonprofit she directs.

Love INC provides various services, including financial aid and transportation, to people who "are experiencing difficulties," she said. In some cases, the nonprofit refers its clients to other local agencies.

Jones said she wanted to consult with these agencies before taking steps to prevent homelessness.

"It just seems logical," she said. "We need to make sure that it's a true need and : that (other agencies) were seeing it the same way."

Although agency representatives agreed that temporary housing was necessary in Moffat County, they didn't decide on how to provide it.

Building a shelter is one option the group considered.

But it's an option that could have setbacks.

Operating a shelter requires "so many people : and resources," Jones said.

Residents may also hold the opinion that a shelter would draw more homeless individuals to Craig. Agency representatives agreed that this perception "wouldn't be uncommon," Jones said.

They reached another consensus: That image should not be a reason for not building a shelter, should it prove necessary.

Whether a shelter will satisfy those needs and if the numbers support the agencies' consensus has yet to be determined.

"Just because we've had a meeting doesn't mean we will build something," she said. "It's not necessarily about building a shelter. It's about planning to meet needs."

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207 or


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