(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) April marks the halfway point for the Crossing Campus Homeless Shelter’s one-year pilot program. The shelter going through one of the harshest winters St. Joseph has seen in a few years, staff says they are fairing pretty well.
"We were first ready to house 45 people a night but then we saw the need and our staff could handle around 60," shelter director Danny Gach said.
St. Joseph saw numerous winter storms with many night temperatures dipping to near zero. This made for a packed house at the Crossing Shelter.
"In the six months we've been open we've had right at 500 un-duplicated visits," Gach said.
Visitors of the shelter were from ages 22 to 82, able-bodied and amputees, employed and searching for work.
"Most people think it's like the shelter you see on TV, but we actually see a lot of people in different situations," Gach said. "But one thing that we found out is that we had a few agencies come out and came here when there were 50 and 60 people here so that was very effective."
While the Crossing staff says they are pleased with how they powered through Winter, they say Summer still can pose just as much of a challenge.
"When it's hot people get dehydrated and they need to get out of the heat, there's that continual need for people without housing that continues every day every week," Gach said.
The Salvation Army closed the Booth Center last May. With no other drop-in shelters available in town, The Crossing Campus turned their worship center into a temporary overnight shelter. It took about eight weeks and over 50 volunteers from charity organizations, local businesses, schools, and the community to prepare the space. Shelter staff worked to raise $210,000 to hire eight employees to man the overnight shelter until around May of 2019.
The Crossing Campus Homeless shelter is hosting a 50s Diner Fundraiser on May 4th to fund them for the rest of 2019. Click here for more details.