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Cold weather shelter opens uncrowded

November 14, 2000

Cold weather shelter opens uncrowded



By MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writer


With temperatures relatively mild Sunday night, the REACH Cold Weather Shelter was not crowded when it opened for the first time this season.

Six people stopped in at First Christian Church for a hot meal and a warm bed. They received packed lunches when they left Monday.

Last season, as many as 30 people a night sought shelter during the coldest winter months.

Now in its fifth year, the shelter will be at different sites while its permanent quarters next to Christ's Reformed Church on West Franklin Street are being renovated.

A brief candlelight prayer service will be held Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of First Christian Church, 1345 Potomac Ave.

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Anyone wishing to use the facilities must obey a few simple rules, according to Terri Blair, director of REACH, an acronym for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless .

No weapons, illegal drugs or alcohol are allowed on the premises.

Smoking is against the rules except at certain times and in a designated area, with supervision. Patrons are asked to refrain from violence or verbal abuse. If a guest is asked to leave for violating the rules and refuses, the police will be called.

Respect for other's privacy and the need for quiet is expected.

The shelter is to be kept neat and clean. All personal belongings must be taken away each day.

Anyone leaving the shelter during the night cannot return that night. No one is admitted after 10 p.m. unless accompanied by police or referral from a crisis volunteer, Washington County Hospital, and the like.

No children or pets are allowed.

Shelter hours are 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Sundays.

Flyers with maps for each location are available at Community Action Council, Washington County Department of Social Services, Community Free Clinic and Washington County Council of Churches Help Center.

The shelter provides homeless adults with a shelter of last resort where they can avoid the risks from hypothermia. Volunteers are on hand to provide information and services to shelter guests for specific needs they may face.

In the first few years, the shelter rotated between churches until it gained a "permanent" home at a building adjacent to Christ's Reformed. Renovations to that building are to begin soon so the shelter can again be housed there, according to Blair.

Those wishing more information or to volunteer may call 301-733-2371. For emergency shelter needs, contact the Community Action Council at 301-797-4161 or CASA hotline at 301-739-8975.

REACH shelter schedule listed

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