Housing First Alliance of Craig, Homeward Bound Grand Valley pitch possible emergency shelter to city council
With the homeless problem and the need for an emergency winter shelter in Moffat County still a hot topic, the Housing First Alliance of Craig took a significant step forward earlier this week, enlisting the help of Homeward Bound Grand Valley to push for a possible solution in Craig.
During a presentation to city councilors Tuesday night and county commissioners Wednesday morning, HFA Executive Director Hannah Wood stated that with Homeward Bound Grand Valley’s help, the HFA is working on drafting a Letter of Intent with the Emergency Solutions Grant Program, which would then help the alliance get the shelter up and running at the old CAPS building on Ranney Street, and the old mining building on Taylor Street.
As it stands now without a homeless shelter, Craig remains a resource desert for the homeless population. The closest shelter is 150 miles away in Grant Junction.
According to Wood, the idea around an emergency homeless shelter would be a low barrier emergency night shelter in Craig, with intake starting at 5 p.m. at the old CAPS and mining buildings. Dinner would be served between 5:30 and 6 p.m., and then all guests would check out at 8 a.m., with the stay being free of charge.
That shelter, according to Wood, would be just for single men and single women to start, and would open on Oct. 1, 2021.
Bill Wade, a board member for Homeward Bound Grand Valley, stated that the organization is in support of HFA’s push for an emergency homeless shelter for Craig, and would help replicate a resemblance of what Homeward Bound has in Grand Junction, rather than the full thing.
Homeward Bound would submit the ESG application on behalf of HFA and the City of Craig, should the city choose to move forward with a possible shelter.
“Our whole goal being here – aside from putting some faces to names – is to be of service,” said Greg Moore, the executive director of Homeward Bound Grand Valley. “We want to help you do what you want to do, shorten the learning curve, and provide some expertise on this issue…help where we can and help this effort go forward.”
Before HFA moves forward with any sort of application though, Wood said that there’s a need for a legitimate study to be performed in Craig to figure out the exact scope of homelessness in Moffat County.
Regardless of a study, Wood – who is a Community Resource Officer for the city’s police department – said that the homeless population puts a strain on the emergency departments in Moffat County, such as law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, and the hospital due to crime and medical issues.
Should HFA move forward with an emergency shelter, Wood stated to councilors that she would need a full buy-in from the city and the community to make the shelter work.
“I want full buy-in from council and the community,” Wood said. “If we go forward with this and it flops, we’ll probably never go forward with it again. So we need full involvement and buy-in.”
Down the road – should HFA receive funding from the ESG program – Wood stated that she’d like to eventually see the city purchase the properties on Ranney Street and Taylor Street, allowing the city to have full control of the shelter.
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