Jamestown’s Second Emergency Homeless Shelter Opening At Half Capacity

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – The second of Jamestown’s emergency “Code Blue” shelters is expected to open on Friday. After a months delay, it’s opening at half capacity and only able to hold up to 10 individuals at a time.

This is a first of its kind shelter in Chautauqua County, featuring co-ed facilities. Located at the Gateway Center on Water Street in Jamestown, development battled a lot of red tape from federal and state agencies which delayed the November opening, according to Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist.

“They needed washers and dryers, which is a requirement for some of it,“ explained Mayor Sundquist. “They needed certain accessibility done to bathrooms, they needed to insure that the roof isn’t leaking. Now there’s certain things that we have to maintain, and so this funding went directly to those locations.”   

After multiple requests, we were denied access to see the facility. The reason why, we were told construction is still underway.

“Not today, no, um, you know it’s just we have, there’s boxes everywhere, there’s things going on, there’s people in there working, it’s just, you know, today’s not a good day,“ explained Sean Jones, Project Manager of the MHA. “I don’t want to show you the unfinished product, we want to show you the finished product.”

When asked when the public might see the facility, Jones said.

“And they’ll see it,” said Jones. “They’ll see it when it’s ready.” 

The shelter is located in a prime spot to help those in need, and connect the homeless with other important resources like Community Helping Hands, the Mental Health Association, and St. Susan’s Soup Kitchen.

“We’re going to have that collaboration,“ said Executive Director of St. Susan’s Cherie Rowland. “And able to help these folks in the community that are struggling.” 

This is just a temporary fix to the homelessness issue. With local leaders saying the true solution is beyond what those in Jamestown can feasibly do. 

“As a city we are obviously being very reactionary to this, in terms of how are we dealing with it,“ explained Mayor Sundquist. “From a proactive standpoint, we just don’t have the resources to be able to actively solve our homelessness population issues, and it requires funding, it requires more state policy.”  

Starting Friday after 6 p.m. individuals can start showing up to the Mental Health Association to receive temporary shelter, on a first come, first serve basis during nights deemed “Code Blue” when the outside temperature is below freezing.

At max capacity, the shelter would house 20 people with a sister emergency shelter, located at the Joy Fellowship Free Methodist Church, already housing six to eight individuals.


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