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Day shelter for homeless suggested

February 12, 2001|By MARLO BARNHART

Day shelter for homeless suggested



When the REACH Cold Weather Shelter lets out each morning at 7, it's still cold and dark and many guests have no place warm to go.

Several agencies have tried to come up with a way around this problem but the real need is for a day shelter, according to a report presented at Monday's task force meeting on homelessness in Washington County.

A big plus is a Monday through Friday breakfast program at New Light Metropolitan Community Church at 40 W. Church St.

Open from 7 to 8:30 a.m., the church provides a warm breakfast along with fellowship. Shelter guests are welcome.

"There have been some problems with guests loitering in and around some businesses in town," said REACH Director Terri Baker.

With no day shelter for homeless people in Washington County, they tend to go wherever they can find a warm place.

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Baker said the long-range plan is to provide day shelter space in the old Cannon Shoe Factory building on West Franklin Street. Donated to Christ's Reformed Church, the building is slated for major renovations.

"We are designing for a full kitchen, rooms for activities, etc.," Baker said.

Glenda Helman of the Community Action Council said Frederick, Md., already has a day shelter in one room at the Community Action Council office there.

"They can handle 40 some people, providing doughnuts and coffee, card tables, newspapers to read, cards and board games," Helman said. "It's not staffed, just checked on periodically."

In Hagerstown, the cold weather shelter opened Nov. 12, 2000, and is alternating among churches again this season while renovations are underway at the shoe factory.

"We're averaging 32 people a night in the shelter this winter," Baker said. REACH is an acronym for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

The shelter will remain open through April 8.

So far this winter, problems at the cold weather shelter have been minimal. Rules are posted and strictly enforced. 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 against the weather. Volunteers provide information and services.

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.

The remaining schedule for this winter's REACH shelter is:

- Feb. 11-18: Emmanuel United Methodist Church at 802 Summit Ave.

- Feb. 18-25: Grace United Methodist Church, Church and Winter streets.

- Feb. 25-March 11: Faith Chapel, 14 S. Potomac St.

- March 11-25: St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St.

- March 25-April 8: Masonic Temple, 54 S. Potomac St.

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