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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – One of the City of Jamestown’s two emergency homeless shelters has closed its doors, and the other is expected to follow suit as temperatures rise and the need for Code Blue safeguards are no longer apparent.
The homeless shelter located at Joy Fellowship Free Methodist Church closed their doors almost a month ago. While the temporary space only held eight beds, it did see a lot of foot traffic over their three months of operation.
“They hosted a total of 64 different guests,“ explained Director of Development Crystal Surdyk. “So 64 different individuals. With an average number of encounters per guest being six, so of those 64 people, on average they stayed at that shelter six times. With the highest number of encounters for one individual being 24 times.”
Meanwhile, the Mental Health Association’s shelter, which opened late in the winter season following a construction delay, is still operational.
“When we submitted the applications and did the budget amendment to DSS’s Code Blue application,” stated Surdyk. “We accounted for them to be able until the end of April, and possibly even a couple of weeks into may, and that was approved. So they can continue to serve until that budget is expended.”
Before the shelters were in place, people in need of emergency housing were sent to local hotels and motels for the night. At the shelters, individuals can receive services that were otherwise unavailable.
In fact, some of the homeless are giving back themselves, now volunteering.
“It puts them in a place that is safe, that is supervised, and has built-in support,“ explained Surdyk. “Whereas you send people to a hotel or motel they don’t have any of that.”
Both locations plan to reopen next fall, if funding returns.
“Both shelters are interested in continuing with code blue efforts in the coming year,“ said Surdyk. “So that’s a great thing I think. There was a lot of effort that went into getting both facilities up and ready.”
“The need is certainly there,” explained Surdyk. “We anticipate it will continue to be there.”
According to officials the Mental Health Association’s shelter served 114 different individuals in the first 45 days of operation. The Director of Development believes that the high use of the two shelters will persuade HUD to refund funding next year.
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